2017-18 UW-Whitewater Women's Basketball Season Preview

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With all five starters returning and several other contributors back with the team, the 2017-18 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women's basketball team appears primed to contend for a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and a deep postseason run.
 
Coming off the program's first-ever WIAC Tournament title, the Warhawks are the preseason favorite of the conference's coaches and athletic communications personnel to win the league's regular season championship.
 
UW-Whitewater is ranked 20th in the D3hoops.com Preseason Top 25 and is receiving votes in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll. The team seeks its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last 11 years and its 16th bid overall.
 
The Warhawks open the new campaign Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Elmhurst (Ill.) before welcoming Beloit to Kachel Gymnasium on Saturday at 4 p.m. for Parents and Family Day and the team's home opener.
 
UW-Whitewater hosts No. 25 Illinois Wesleyan, which also reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17, on Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. as part of a women's/men's doubleheader at Kachel Gymnasium.
 
The Warhawks also host Concordia Wisconsin on Nov. 27 and Augustana (Ill.) on Nov. 30 before visiting Coe (Iowa) on Dec. 9 after a nearly 10-day layoff.
 
UW-Whitewater hosts MSOE on Dec. 12 before closing the non-conference season with a pair of tournaments. The team heads to the Cruzin' Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 18-19 for games against Eastern Connecticut State, a 2017 NCAA qualifier, and Central (Iowa).
 
The Warhawks close the non-conference slate Dec. 29-30 at the Wartburg (Iowa) Tournament, which features four NCAA Tournament participants from last year. UW-Whitewater will face preseason No. 16 Gustavus Adolphus (Minn.) before facing either No. 8 Wartburg or UW-Superior to close out the calendar year.
 
The Warhawks open the conference season against rival UW-Oshkosh on Jan. 3 at Kachel Gymnasium. The Titans, ranked 11th by D3hoops.com, are coming off a trip to the Sweet 16 and are the defending WIAC regular season champions.
 
UW-Whitewater is led by a senior trio that includes guards Malia Smith (Bolingbrook, Ill./Neuqua Valley)and Brooke Trewyn (Whitewater, Wis./Whitewater) and forward Andrea Meinert (West Bend, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran), who is coming off a season-ending injury sustained midway through last season.
 
Trewyn earned third team D3hoops.com All-Central Region and first team All-WIAC honors last season, finishing as the conference's leading scorer with 15.2 points per game. She also averaged a team-high 7.0 rebounds per contest, good for fourth in the league, and led the team with 68 assists, which tied for fourth in the WIAC.
 
Smith enters the season as a two-time All-WIAC selection, including first team accolades in 2016-17. A two-time WIAC All-Defensive Team pick, Smith led the league in steals (76 / 2.71 per game) and averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per affair.
 
In 13 games last season, Meinert averaged 9.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. As the team's top option off the bench in 2015-16, she averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest and ranked fourth in the conference with 65 offensive rebounds.
 
Other returning starters include junior forward Olivia Freckmann (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) and sophomore guard Becky Raeder (Sheboygan Falls, Wis./Sheboygan Falls). Freckmann scored 5.9 points per game and ranked second on the team with 6.9 rebounds per affair, while Raeder averaged 4.7 points per contest and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range during her rookie campaign.
 
Junior center Becky Deichl (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) started 13 games last season, averaging 5.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while ranking 11th in the WIAC in both offensive rebounds (55). Sophomore forward Gilley Martinelli (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) also returns to the frontcourt rotation after appearing in 21 games a year ago.
 
Sophomore forward Morgan Rosencrants (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) also returns after playing in nine games last season.
 
The Warhawks' backcourt depth is bolstered by the return of junior Emily Kraft (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) and sophomore Camri Conley (Sugar Grove, Ill./Kaneland). Kraft appeared in 22 games in 2016-17, and Conley played in 28 contests, averaging 12.1 minutes per appearance.
 
Other returning guards include sophomores Nikki Foster (Janesville, Wis./Craig)Taylor McIlwraith (Mequon, Wis./Mequon Homestead)Auhea Simmons (Fort Atkinson, Wis./Fort Atkinson) and Juliette Vainisi (Prospect Heights, Ill./John Hersey).
 
Newcomers to the program include junior center Sarah Schumacher, sophomore guard Sydney Smith, freshmen guards Adriana Green, Emily Schumacher, Rebekah Schumacher, freshmen forwards Kayla DeRosia and Nicole Elias and freshman center Bailee Eggers.
 
Sarah Schumacher joins the team as a transfer after playing two seasons at Division II Quincy University (Ill.), and Smith transferred from Southwestern Oregon Community College.