November 9, 2011

Edgewood 2011-12 women's basketball preview

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Preseason interview with Casey Thousand (courtesy of TheBig1070.com)

MADISON, Wis. - The honeymoon period for Edgewood College head women's basketball coach Casey Thousand has ended. Heading into her third season, Thousand has shaped the program through injuries and growing pains and is anxious to move forward toward the top of the Northern Athletics Conference. The Eagles return five players to the 2011-12 squad who started double digit games last season.

Edgewood College's 2010-11 season mirrored their 2009-10 season in many ways. The Eagles went 14-12 and finished third in the NAC North Division in both seasons. Just like in 2009-10, Edgewood College's season ended with a NAC Tournament quarterfinal loss on the road at Benedictine University.

The Eagles will rely on a core of seniors and juniors to break from their third place rut. Junior Alison Tobin carries the title of returning leading scorer after a breakthrough sophomore season. Tobin, a 5-10 forward, averaged 9.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shot 46.8 percent from the field. Junior center Brittany Bylsma and senior forward Melanie Walker complete the Eagles' returning frontcourt. Bylsma and Walker were the only two Eagles to start all 26 games last season. Bylsma led the team with 6.7 rebounds per game and ranks fourth on the Eagles' all-time blocked shots list. Walker sets the tone for the Eagles' defense and ranked second on the team in total assists last year.

Senior Sadie Ewing and junior Danielle Dixon both return in the backcourt. Ewing put up 6.2 points per game last season and dished out 2.2 assists, despite missing seven games with an injury. Dixon scored 8.7 points per game in her second season and collected 33 steals.

Five other players, one junior and four sophomores also return for Edgewood College in 2011-12. Junior Chantelle Vogt and sophomores Chelsey Watkins, Dareon Henderson, Alison Noviztke and Emily Wayne will compete for playing time along with a new class of four freshmen. In addition, junior Mallory Palmer will play her first season of basketball after being a three-time All-NAC first team selection in volleyball.

The Northern Athletics Conference coaches poll selected last year's North Division champion Wisconsin Lutheran College to repeat as champion this year. The Warriors received 12 of the 13 first place votes, with Concordia University Wisconsin placing second and Edgewood College third. Dominican University was picked to win the NAC South Division for the second straight year.

Edgewood College opens the new campaign on November 19 and 20 when they play in the UW-Platteville Tipoff Classic. The Eagles will play Iowa Intercollegiate Athletics Conference foes the University of Dubuque and Loras College, before a tough NAC opener on the road at Concordia University Wisconsin on November 26. The Eagles first home game will take place on Tuesday, November 29, when the team welcomes Maranatha Baptist to the Edgedome.

All home basketball games this season are broadcast live on EdgewoodCollegeEagles.com.
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