PREVIEWING: Loras College Women's Basketball
Sat, Nov. 16, 2013 - [Women's Basketball]

Coming off a solid season in 2012-13, 18-9 overall and 7-7 in the IIAC, the 2013-14 Duhawk women's basketball team is looking to take that next step toward an IIAC championship and ultimately  an NCAA tournament berth. 


"We'll be a very different team than a year ago. While defense will always be a staple, we've gained in team speed, athleticism, and length and should be able to do some pretty fun things with lineup versatility," head coach Justin Heinzen had to said during the preseason.


The Duhawks will look to use their balance of veterans and youth to reach their goals.


With the departure of six seniors from last year's roster, Justin Heinzen expects veterans to step up. Among that group is 2012-13 first team All-IIAC performer and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Katie Langmeier. A senior from Cuba City, Wisconsin, she led the team in steals, points per game and offensive rebounds last season.


"Katie Langmeier is going to be an absolute force and is in a position to have a very nice season," said Heinzen.


Heinzen is confident in the play and leadership of seniors Katie Wheeler and Lauren Byrne this season. "Katie Wheeler and Lauren Byrne are high motor players that have played well thus far," he added.


Junior Victoria May finished the 2012-13 season strong and has continued to build off it throughout the offseason. "She's added a lot to her game and looks as confident as we've seen her," stated Heinzen.


After losing sophomores Kaitlin Phillips and Megan Jones to ACL injuries last season, the Duhawks expect them to make immediate impact as their health continues to improve.


The Duhawks will also look for contributions from a strong freshman class in Emma Bradford, Naomi Phillips, Kathleen Cabrera, Lori Obendorf, and Terese McMahon. "Kathleen will make a run at playing time at the point-guard position. Emma and Naomi provide depth at wing. While, Lori and Terese will provide depth at the post," said Heinzen. 


The lady Duhawks will be tested early and often in what, on preseason paper, looks to be their strongest schedule in the last seven years.


The Duhawks will host some of the Midwest's premier programs and consistent NCAA tournament teams in Wheaton and St. Norbert. They will travel to #2 Washington University and #12 Carthage. Also on the schedule for the Duhawks are UW-Oshkosh and the University of Chicago.


The solid preseason schedule of the Duhawks should help prepare for a run at the IIAC title.


"The team has gotten steadily better from day 1 and have done a nice job competing. I expect that as the IIAC season rolls around, we are going to be a strong player in it all," said Heinzen.


A Closer Look:

2012-13 Record: 18-9, 7-7 in IIAC

Starters Lost: Brittney Cato, Niki Rivera, Melissa Herrmann

Key Returners: Katie Langmeier, Katie Wheeler, Lauren Byrne, Victoria May

Also Keep An Eye On: Emma Bradford, Naomi Phillips, Kathleen Cabrera, Kaitlin Phillips, Megan Jones