ESCANABA, MI – The Bay College Women's Basketball Team will look to kick off their 2019-2020 campaign this weekend as they travel downstate to take on Grand Rapids Community College and Kellogg Community College on Friday and Saturday. The Norse will look to improve on a 21-8 record last season and a trip to the Region XIII Championship Game.
Second year Head Coach Rob Robinson took over last year and led a team that got off to a slow start, accumulating a 4-5 record in the month of November. The Norse would hit on all cylinders form that point on, going undefeated in the month of December and losing just twice more in the regular season. Bay would have their first ever home postseason game, pummeling Gogebic Community College by a score of 78-40. They would then be forced to go on the road for the Region Championship, making the long trek to United Tribes Technical College. The very successful season would end in heartbreaking fashion, with the hosts taking the championship by a score of 80-70.
Robinson talked about his roster and the impact the two preseason games against Northern Michigan University and Northland College had on their preparation. "We are in a much better position this year than we were last year mostly because of the two teams we played in the preseason. I believe that helped the new players see how much faster and physical college basketball is. Last year it took a while to figure that out."
Despite losing their leading scorer from a year ago to graduation, the Norse return plenty of experience and leadership. Nine returners top the 2019-2020 roster, three of which were regulars in the starting lineup, with two more picking up starts down the stretch. The few that did not get their name called during starting lineups would also provide valuable minutes, bringing a wealth of experience to this year's team.
JuliAnn Wickman (SO, Felch, MI) played the most minutes per game (18.2) of all of the returners, despite not starting a game. She would play in 27 games, shoot 40.7% from the floor, and average 6.6 points per game. Kelsea Ackerman (SO, Munising, MI) would end up being another vital piece off the bench a season ago, contributing 5.8 points per game and collecting 34 steals. Elizabeth Goodacre (SO, Rapid River, MI) played just over eight minutes a game last season and shot 30.9% from the floor.
Taylor Hunter (SO, Gladstone, MI) is the only returner to start in every game a year ago. She led the team in shooting percentage, hitting 50.7% of her shots and was second on the team in overall scoring (188 points), and averaged 6.5 points per game. Kiesha Davis (SO, St. Ignace, MI) is another returner that brings an inside presence. She was second on the team in rebounding a year ago, grabbing 5.8 per game, and shot 44.9% from the field. Haley Trudell (SO, Rock, MI) started in 20 games and played in all 29 last season. Known for her touch from beyond the three-point arc, she led the team in three-point attempts (113), makes (36), good for 31.9% from deep.
Kaitlyn Hardwick (SO, Gladstone, MI) started in 16 games a season ago, logging 16 minutes per game. She shot 43.7% from the field while appearing in every game. Brooke Dalgord (SO, Garden, MI) averaged 14 minutes a game and pulled down 96 rebounds for the Norse. Marissa Ackerman (SO, Munising, MI) started in six games last season and played 15.8 minutes per game while amassing 27 steals.
Six new faces round out the roster this season. Adding depth on the perimeter is Trish McGuire (FR, Gwinn, MI) who averaged 8.5 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game, and 3.3 assists per game in her senior season. Cierra Molina (FR, Rudyard, MI) will play from the point guard position this season, a year replaced from scoring 19.8 points per game in her senior season in high school. Brooke Mannor (Fr, Munising, MI) was a four-sport athlete in high school and averaged 10.2 points in her senior basketball season. Holly Wardynski (FR, Ontonagon, MI) finished her high school career averaging 10.1 points per game, grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game, dealing out 2.8 assists per game, and 9.4 steals per game.
The Norse also added to their presence inside the paint as well. Standing at 6'0", Madison Olsen (FR, St. Ignace, MI) was an All-Conference Defensive Team selection who once blocked nine shots in one game. Lauryn Blonairz (FR, Bark River, MI) is a 5'10" forward that averaged 8.8 points per game and grabbed 8.6 rebounds per game.
"This is my deepest team in my 25-year career," said Robinson. "As long as we can stay healthy and play together, great things could happen this year."
After opening on the road the first two weekends, the Norse will host UW-Green Bay, Marinette on November 18 for their home opener. They will also play host to Alpena Community College on November 25, before they host their first of two Holiday Tournaments.
The Qulaity Inn & Suites Holiday Classic will take place on December 14 and 15. Bay will host Harper College and Milwaukee Area Technical College on those two days. New to the schedule this year is the Quality Inn & Suites New Year's Tournament on January 3 and 4. The Norse will face Sault College on the first day of the tournament. As it is being played in a true tournament fashion, the January 4 time and opponent will depend on the results of the first day of competition. Bay will face either Gogebic Community College or Western Technical College.
Bay will start the second semester slate of games with a home matchup with Gogebic Community College on January 15 and Finlandia University on January 25. They will finish their regular season home schedule with a match up against Bryant & Stratton College (WI) on February 8.
For a complete schedule and up-to-date scores, stats, and information, visit www.baynorse.com.