Basketball Preview: look for new players to rise up
As the calendar winds into the last months of 2017, the temperature goes down, and the excitement goes up — because it’s basketball season, Tartan fans! Let’s take a look at some big names and some big games to watch for this upcoming season.
Last season’s Tartans went an impressive 21–7 in the 2016-17 season, but coming into this season the team has suffered big losses in the offensive department with the graduation of seniors Lisa Murphy and Jackie Hudepohl. The team will be looking to every player on the team to fill the gaps in offense this season.
Look for junior guard Jenn Mayberger to be a big playmaker this year. During her first year, she set a school record for most assists (142), and in 2016-17, she led the team again, finishing with a more modest, but still impressive 97.
Also keep an eye on sophomore forward Katharine Higgins and sophomore guard Makayla Filiere to make big shots from the three-point line. Higgins and Filiere went 1–2 on three-point baskets last season, and will likely continue their production as sharpshooters from outside the white line.
Conference play for the Tartans starts Jan. 6, when the team takes on Case Western Reserve University. This should be an interesting test for the team, as they split their games with Case Western last season. Look out for that home opener on Jan. 19, when the Tartans look to bounce back from a 0–2 skid against the Chicago Maroons.
Last season, the Tartans went 14–12. Not their best season, to be sure, and, similar to the women’s team, big veteran losses in leading scorers Jack Serbin and Chris Shkil aren’t going to do them any favors. Hopefully this year’s considerably younger team can pick up the slack. Eyes will certainly be on senior guard Ryan Maha, who was third in points-per-game last season, and junior forward and guard Seth Henry, who finished third in assists in 2016-17, to make a big impact and lead the team.
Make sure you watch for sophomore guard Zach Howarth, who had an incredible first year, scoring 170 points, the fourth most on the team. He’ll be looking to avoid a sophomore slump and continue to help his team on the offensive end.
Junior forward and center Patrick Ehland will be hard to miss in the pint, towering on the court 6’8”. Look for him to make a big defensive contribution, as he finished third in blocks, and fourth in rebounds last season.
Men’s conference play also starts Jan. 6 against Case Western. The Tartans defeated the Spartans twice last season, and hope to continue the win streak into this year. Be sure to stick around Skibo on Friday, Jan. 19, as the men take on the Maroons in their conference home opener. The Tartan men also have a two-game winning streak on their side against the Maroons, so look for a few more big wins this season.