Young team takes court for women’s basketball

Joseph Craker, Sports Editor

After posting five straight 20-win seasons, the WolfPack women’s basketball team coached by Lois Heeren has its work cut out for it going into 2018-19. The team’s double-digit, season-opening loss to McHenry County College (42-60) should not have fans too pessimistic yet, however.

After graduating all but two players last season, the new team will need to gel quickly in order to continue the successes of seasons past. With such a young squad, that majority of that burden early on will be on the shoulders of seasoned sophomores Tianna Sackett and Caitlyn Gilbertson.

A multi-sport student athlete, Tianna Sackett at guard will be more than used to rolling with the punches, developing chemistry in the locker room and on the court. She also averaged 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1 assist last year as a freshman over 11 games, so she will be more than just a positive personality.

Similarly, forward Caitlyn Gilbertson will be looking to make a strong impact in her second season on the squad. Gilbertson averaged 10.7 points, 1.3 assists, and 1 block per game.  She also managed to lead the team with 7.2 rebounds per game, all while nursing an injury through the majority of the campaign. Should she stay injury-free this year, a standout season may be in the works.

As well as the returning duo, coach Heeren has added seven first-years and one transfer.  Madison natives Jayla Connor and Johnetta Walters as well as Aniah Williams from Beloit have been standouts in practice, showing a wide range of potential talent and ability.

As a team, the WolfPack will strive to replace the production of last season’s standouts to draw a similar record.

All-American Megan Corcoran and all-region guard Peyton Trapino combined for an average of 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists last season, which coach Heeren will hope to spread across her entire lineup this year, including the bench.

“We may be young in terms of experience, but we have a lot of different ways to manufacture points. The team will need to get a few games under their belt to really understand tempo, speed, and physicality of the college game,” said Heeren.

The Madison College women’s basketball team will play its first game at home on Wednesday, Nov. 14, against the Sauk Valley Community College Skyhawks, and will have had those few games “under their belt” in order to show us what they are really made of by then.