The Wayne State College women’s basketball team opens the 2019-20 season this weekend at the UNK Crossover Tournament in Kearney as the Wildcats and Minnesota Crookston from the NSIC take on Nebraska-Kearney and Northwest Missouri State from the MIAA. WSC faces Northwest Missouri State in the tournament opener Friday at 5 p.m. followed by UNK vs. UMC at 7 p.m. Saturday’s schedule features Northwest Missouri State vs. Minnesota Crookston at 3:30 p.m. followed by WSC vs. UNK in the finale at 5:30 p.m.
Wayne State was picked to finish 11th in the Preseason NSIC Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll after going 15-15 last year and 9-13 in the NSIC. The Wildcats return three starters and their top three returning scorers led by junior forward Erin Norling at 15.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Other returning starters include junior center Brittany Bongartz (12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and junior point guard Halley Busse (11.7 ppg).
Northwest Missouri State was 8-20 last season and 4-15 in the MIAA last season and picked 10th in this year’s Preseason MIAA Coaches Poll. The Bearcats return their top three leading scorers in Kennedy Eaton (12.7), Jaelyn Haggard (12.1) and Mallory McConkey (8.8).
Nebraska-Kearney was picked to finish sixth in the MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll after going 15-14 overall and 8-11 in the MIAA last season. The Lopers return All-MIAA honorable mention guard Kelsey Sanger (10.2 ppg) and sophomore center Brooke Carlson (10.3 ppg) and sophomore wing Maegan Holt (10.1 ppg).
Minnesota Crookston is picked to finish 14th in the NSIC Preseason Coaches Poll after going 10-19 last year and 5-17 in the NSIC.
Last season, the NSIC won all four games against the MIAA in the crossover played in Wayne as UMC beat UNK 71-59 and NMSU 79-71 while WSC picked up wins over NMSU 75-58 and UNK 69-52.
WSC trails in the all-time series vs. Northwest Missouri State 12-4 but has won the last three meetings against the Bearcats that include a 75-58 win in Wayne last season. The Wildcats hold a 37-31 lead in the all-time series vs. Nebraska-Kearney with the Wildcats beating the Lopers in Wayne last year 69-52. WSC has lost their last three games in Kearney to the Lopers and have not won in Kearney since the 2005-06 season (74-53). Two years ago in Kearney UNK beat WSC 59-52.