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Victories, defense rank women’s basketball third

November 11, 2010

The preseason predictions are in. The WIAC sports directors ranked the Falcons women’s basketball team third out of the nine teams in the WIAC, according to the conference website. UW-Stevens Point was favored to win the WIAC women’s basketball championship.

There are several reasons why the sports directors ranked the Falcons third.

Last season the team had the most victories in 21 years with 18 overall. The Falcons defense was the best in the conference, and for a portion of the season, the team was ranked in the top 25 in the country, said Head Coach Cindy Holbrook.

Although the Falcons are up against a tough schedule every year, this year will pose particular challenges for the team, said Holbrook.

“Right now there are five teams in our league that are receiving votes for top 25 in the country in the pre-season polls, including us,” she said. “Our non-conference schedule this year will also be extremely tough as we are taking on the top teams in three other conferences in the area.”

The other pre-season poll that Coach Holbrook is referring to is the USA Today ESPN Division III Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. Nine head coaches from Division III Institutions make up the USA Today ESPN board of coaches, according to the WIAC website.

The UW-Stevens Point Pointers tied for the sixth place ranking. Although the UW-River Falls, UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse women’s basketball teams did not make the top 25 list, all three received votes.

The difficult schedule is not deflating the hopes and aspirations of Assistant Head Coach Michael Babler.

“Our hopes are to be conference champs and to get into the NCAA Division III tournament, and I would like to see us be the best defensive team in the league.”

The Falcons have a loyal fan base that has increased every year, said Holbrook.

Last year, the fan base tripled from the year before because the team was doing so well, but Holbrook would like to see more fan support from the students.

“It’s disheartening when they come for the men’s game and don’t even stay to see that we’re really good and exciting to watch,” she said. “With such a tough schedule this year our students could really help us by creating a home court advantage in Karges.”

The Falcons started practice Oct. 15, and their first game is away on Nov.17 against Gustavus Adolphus College.