The University of Mary Women found a ton of success on the court last year, but an early exit from the Northern Sun tournament looms as a new season, with a ton of new challenges, is set to begin in just over a month.
One thing is clear from the Marauders’ early exit in the Northern Sun tournament back in March, this is a team that is reloaded and ready for redemption.
“Our season didn’t end how we wanted it to,” says Guard Lauren Rotunda. “And just knowing that we had a chance to come back with a lot of our girls back. We have a lot of depth and a lot of potential with the new girls coming in. We’ve been really driven this offseason, really working hard.”
The Marauders have to replace Cassie Askvig, who broke the single-season and single-game scoring records last year. The lack of size could lead to a new change in pace.
“With this year’s team, I think speed might come back into our style, and look to push,” says head coach Rick Neumann. “We might have some quicker possessions where we’re a little bit more outside in, as opposed to previous years when we were inside out.”
However, it’s defensive improvements that will be key to make the Marauders a complete team.
“Continue to pressure on defense, box out,” says guard Macy Williams. “Our size doesn’t matter when it comes to rebounds and stuff like that, as long as we use our bodies and use our speed.”
In a COVID season, the team will not look to experiment with new concepts, rather getting back to the basics that will lead them to winning basketball.
“I think those teams that have championship aspirations as we do, are going to come out and just try to get as good at what they do as quickly as they can,” Neumann says. “Because you just never know when somebody, when you’re team, when a game might be lost for a while.”
“I think there’s definately a pressure, just knowing that we do have a limited time to prove who we are,” says Rotunda. “But if anything, it makes us more excited. It makes us ready to go right away. It makes us want to be our best right away, so I definately think it’s a good drive for us to have.”
The Marauders open their season on the road at Sioux Falls on January Second.