MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Women's Basketball was picked to win the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the preseason coaches poll. The team also placed two on the preseason First Team All-GLIAC Team.
The Wildcats return 92 percent of the offense from last season and sees leading scorer, senior Darby Youngstrom (Cook, Minn./North Woods), return after an injury cost her the majority of the season. Sophomore Lexi Smith (St. Germain, Wis./Northland Pines) also returns after becoming the first NMU Women's Basketball player to earn Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year since the 1994-95 season. Both players were named North Division First Team All-GLIAC.
Youngstrom is joined by seniors Taylor Hodell (Wausau, Wis./DC Everest), Sydney Dillinger (Houghton, Mich.), Tess Weatherly (Howell, Mich.) and Chloe Tompkins (Dousman, Wis./Kettle Moraine). The large senior class will be looked upon to guide the team as NMU seeks a home GLIAC Tournament game this season.
Also returning to the team this season are juniors Jessica Schultz (Mineral Point, Wis.) and Erin Honkala (Howell, Mich.) and sophomore Elizabeth Lutz (Marshall, Wis). Schultz finished second on the team in scoring after Youngstrom's injury with Honkala leading the team in rebounds and blocked shots. Honkala posted seven games of double-digit rebounds, including a career-high 19 at Grand Valley State University. Lutz comes back after finishing the 2017-18 season strong by posting double-figures in her last two games of significant playing time.
The team will also feature junior transfer CeCe Rapp (St. Charles, Ill./St. Edwards Catholic), and freshman Madigan Johns (Ishpeming, Mich.), Emily Mueller (Fond du Lac, Wis./Saint Mary's Spring) and Peyton Wright (Ashwauben, Wis.). Rapp and Mueller will add depth to the Wildcats inside game while Johns and Wright eye an impact on the outside.
The Wildcats received 60 points and 10 first place votes in the coaches poll to finish ahead Michigan Technological University with 50 points and two first place votes to lead the North Division. Ferris State University finished with 43 points while University of Wisconsin-Parkside had 27. Lake Superior State University and Purdue University-Northwest finished tied with 18 points for fifth place.
In the South, Grand Valley State University received 58 points and seven first place votes, finishing ahead of defending GLIAC Champ and NCAA Division II Runner-Up Ashland University who received 54 points and four first place votes. Wayne State University comes in third with 39 points and Northwood University is fourth with 31 points. Davenport University with 18 points and Saginaw Valley State University, 16 points, round out the South Division.
The Wildcats get their 2018-19 campaign started with an exhibition game against Finlandia University Saturday, November 3 in the Berry Events Center at 1 p.m. The regular season tips off Saturday, November 10 with a contest against Lewis University and on Sunday, November 11 against Hillsdale College with both games played at Hillsdale College. The team returns to the Berry Events Center to host University of Minnesota Duluth Tuesday, November 13th