ST. PAUL – Winner of the 2012-13 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Women's Basketball Postseason Tournament, the College of St. Scholastica was predicted to claim the league regular season title in 2013-2014 according to a poll of the UMAC coaches. The Saints, who earned five first place votes, were followed by the University of Northwestern and the University of Minnesota Morris who finished second and third respectively in the poll. The Eagles earned two first place nods while the Cougars earned one first place vote.
The St. Scholastica women's basketball team appeared in its first NCAA Division III Tournament last season after an improbable run in the conference tournament. With virtually everyone back, the Saints are primed for another run this season. The Saints had just one senior on last year's squad.
CSS returns four starters led at forward by first team All-UMAC selection in senior Erin Frase (Phillips, Wis./Phillips HS (UW-River Falls)). Frase led the Saints in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game last season. Frase shot 54.6 percent from the floor, which ranked 13th in the nation and set a program record for best field goal percentage in a season.
Sophomore Danica Schellbach (Rush City, Minn./Rush City HS) also returns at forward for the Saints. Schellbach averaged 17.8 points per game in the final seven games, including 24 points and 14 rebounds in the UMAC Tournament Championship win at Martin Luther. On the perimeter, juniors Mariah Hovick (Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake HS) and Elena Huber (Northfield, Minn./Northfield HS) are back. Hovick was an honorable mention All-UMAC selection last season. She poured in a career-high 25 points in the UMAC Tournament semifinal upset over Minnesota Morris and finished second on the team with 10.5 points per game.
Also returning at guard is sophomore Holly Peterson (Mantorville, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville HS) and junior Sammy Doucette (Colfax, Wis./Colfax HS (UW-River Falls)). Leading the newcomers will be University of Minnesota Duluth sophomore transfer and former Braham standout Kelsey Sorenson-Giffrow (Braham, Minn./Braham HS (Minn. Duluth)). The guard finished with over 1,400 career points at Braham and broke six team records. Coach Deadrick also welcomes freshman guard Kayla Swanson (Hibbing, Minn./Hibbing HS).
The former Hibbing High School standout averaged 20.5 points per game her senior season. Other newcomers include Chelsea Schull (St. Clair, Minn./St. Clair HS) from St. Clire High School and UMD transfer Kariana DeYoung (Deer River, Minn./Deer River HS), who currently plays on the CSS volleyball team.
2013-2014 UMAC Women's Basketball Coaches' Poll
1. 46 Points – College of St. Scholastica (5 First Place Votes)
2. 42 Points – University of Northwestern (2)
3. 39 Points – University of Minnesota Morris (1)
4. 33 Points – Martin Luther College
5. 25 Points – Bethany Lutheran College
6. 17 Points – North Central University
7. 13 Points – Northland College
8. 9 Points – Crown College