Mike Santarelli

Sports Editor

Photo Credit: Naccsports.com.

Women’s Basketball looks to begin the regular season this Friday night at the Dan and Ada Rice Center against Augustana College.  After finishing off last season with an 18-9 record, the Eagles have plenty of success to build on.

D’Asia Williams (2018 First Team All-NACC) and Allison Michalski look to lead the way for the Eagles this year, after graduating Venita Parsons (2018 Second Team All-NACC), Georgia Alexakos and Alena Moro who contributed to last year’s success.  The Eagles will also be without Madisyn Fischer, who transferred out of Benedictine after a strong freshman season.

“In order for our team to be successful this year we have to not let our young age show,” says D’Asia Williams who led Benedictine in scoring last season. “We have to be able to fight through adversity, no matter what is thrown our way and we have to be able to bounce back.”

Making adjustments will be pivotal for the Eagles this season, who will need an at-large bid from the NCAA to make the playoffs this season.  Having already played an exhibition game against The University of Wisconsin-Parkside and another exhibition scheduled against Lewis University next week, Benedictine will have the experience against high-level competition they need before heading to Holland, Michigan for the Hope College Tip-Off Classic.

Benedictine is ranked 3rd in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference after the pre-season polls were released on November 2nd.  Wisconsin Lutheran led the voting after leading the conference last season with just two losses, one of which came from Benedictine.

A regular-season conference championship, including big wins against Wisconsin Lutheran and other NCAA Division III ranked opponents should be enough for Benedictine to earn a bid for the NCAA Playoffs.

Benedictine enters the season as the most successful Benedictine Women’s Basketball program in a three-year period under head coach Charlie Averkamp.  Averkamp will be accompanied by Abbey Hengesbach, who joins the team this season as a full-time assistant coach.

“We are excited to welcome Abbey to the coaching staff in a full-time role,” Averkamp said. “Her success as both a player and coach will be invaluable in helping the student-athletes here at Benedictine.”

Hengesbach, Olivet Nazarene graduate, was NAIA Division II’s National Player of the Year in 2016 and brings three All-American honors to the team.