The basketball season is almost under way, and the men’s and women’s teams are jumping right into it. With new head coach Robin Potera-Haskins leading the women, and strong returners and transfers on the men’s squad, the two teams expect successful seasons.
In a recent Northwest Conference Preseason Poll, the men’s team received second-place standing with a point total of 62, while last years’ defending champions from Whitworth University held the first-place standing. With head coach of 24 years, Larry Doty, the men plan on living up to their second-place ranking.
“Second is a respectful position to put us in,” Doty said. “I certainly think we’ll be better this season.”
Junior shooting guard Zach Anderson agreed with his coach.
“I’m happy with the ranking,” Anderson said. “It’s nice to be recognized by other coaches as a good team.”
During a Nov. 5 exhibition game against Portland State University, Senior post K.C. Wiser and junior guards Sergio Rosario and Daniel Teater collectively scored 44 of the 74 total points for the ’Cats. But the team came away with a 74-119 loss to the Vikings.
Linfield scored 13 points off turnovers, while PSU scored 39. Linfield scored two points from fast breaks compared with 28 for the Pilots.
“We played really well for the first 10 or 11 minutes,” junior post David Lee said. “We’ll be pretty good offensively; we just need to work on our defense.”
The Wildcats will face tough competition this season from Whitworth, as the Pirates flaunt their previous season record of 16-0 compared with Linfield’s 10-6. Despite last year’s stats, the team has a shared goal of winning the conference title.
“Winning conference leads to home court advantage; we’ve always had great support at home,” Doty said. “We just need to make sure that we take each game as it comes and win as many games in the preseason as we can.”
The team is preparing for its first preseason home game, which falls on Nov. 30 against Evergreen State College.
In the same NWC Preseason Poll, the women’s team totaled 26 points to receive the seventh-place standing. George Fox University took the first-place standing with an 81 point total.
“[Linfield] finished in that position last year,” Potera-Haskins said. “A big goal would be to make it to the conference tournament.”
The Wildcats played an exhibition game at home against Western Oregon University on Nov. 9. At half time, the score was 36-33 (WOU), and the ’Cats lost to the Wolves with a final score of 66-74.
Freshman forward Kaely Maltman was the game’s highest scorer with 18 points, while returning junior guard Gretchen Owens scored 10 points.
“Our coach was really pleased with us and how much we’ve improved over the past few weeks,” freshman post player Chandler Jones said. “We’re getting better at knowing everybody’s strengths and weaknesses.”
The women have a large group of new athletes this season. Key players for the ’Cats will be Owens, junior forwards Chrissy Baumgartner and Lindsay Gummersall, who is currently injured, and newcomer junior point guard Abby Olbrich.
“I see great playing from Abby Olbrich. She’s doing a great job of running the point,” Potera-Haskins said. “[Senior] Stephanie Fennimore was out last \season with a torn ACL, but she’s a hard worker and a great team player.”
Potera-Haskins also mentioned the team’s three new freshmen players, Maltman, Jones and Breanna Ribeiro, and how they will contribute greatly throughout the season.
The next exhibition game will be against Concordia University on Nov. 16 in Portland and the men will battle it out against Texas’ Trinity University on Nov. 21 in Spokane, Wash.
Katey Barger/Staff reporter
Katey Barger can be reached at email@example.com.