The Central Lakes College women's basketball team has nowhere to go but up.
Last year the Raiders endured a 4-17 season and lost their first 14 games, the longest losing streak since the 1989-90 season, and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
But that was last year.
The Raiders will have a new look this year as first-year head coach Brad Amundson takes over the reigns from Dennis Eastman, who is on sabbatical.
CLC returns five sophomores, giving it more experience than in past years. But the Raiders only brought in three freshmen. Recruiting suffered because Amundson wasn't hired until June.
"We're walking a real fine line with our depth," said Amundson. "If we have an injury or two I may have to come out of retirement and suit up. There are still a couple of girls we're trying to persuade to come out, but if we have eight that's what we'll go with."
All-Northern Division and All-MCCC player Courtney Stach returns as does talented point guard Kim Rosecrans. The 5-foot-10 Stach led CLC in scoring last year with 14.0 points per game while Rosecrans averaged 13.7 points a game to go along with six assists per game.
"I hope to create some mismatches with Courtney as far as who's guarding her," Amundson said. "Hopefully we can utilize her both inside and outside. Defensively she's strong enough to guard inside and she can step out and guard the perimeter because she's so athletic.
"Kim is our point guard and floor leader so how she goes we'll go. We're going to rely a lot on Kim to get us in the right tempo."
CLC women's basketball
Head coach: Brad Amundson, first year
Assistant coach: Nate Hanson
2004-05 record: 4-8 Northern Division, 4-17 overall.
Kim Rosecrans (5-5 guard) Crosby-Ironton
Courtney Stach (5-10 forward) Bertha-Hewitt
Andrea Almsted (6-1 forward) Park Center
Kristi Myers (6-2 center) Pequot Lakes
Sarah Mulroy (5-6 guard) Pillager
Kayla Gustafson (5-7 guard) Wadena-Deer Creek
Erin Karlsgodt (5-11 forward) Brainerd
LeaAnn Karlsgodt (5-6 guard) Brainerd
18-19 - at Ridgewater Invitational, TBA
23 - MINNEAPOLIS, 5 p.m.
26 -at Fergus Falls, 1 p.m.
2 - at Rochester, 6 p.m.
3 - at Riverland, 1 p.m.
10 - FERGUS FALLS, 1 p.m.
16-17 - CLC CLASSIC, TBA
4-5 - CLC Classic, TBA
11 - NORTHLAND 6 p.m.
14 - at Vermilion, 1 p.m.
20 - RAINY RIVER, 6 p.m.
21 - HIBBING, 1 p.m.
25 - ITASCA, 6 p.m.
28 - at Mesabi, 1 p.m.
4 - at Hibbing 1 p.m.
7 - at Itasca, 6 p.m.
9 - MESABI, 6 p.m.
11 - VERMILION, 1 p.m.
15 - at Northland 6 p.m.
18 - at Rainy River, 1 p.m.
24-26 - State at Anoka-Ramsey, TBA
3-4 - Region 13, TBA
10-12 - NJCAA Division III Tournament, TBA
Returning to the post is 6-1 forward Andrea Almsted and 6-2 center Kristi Myers. Almsted averaged seven points a game. Myers averaged a little more than two points.
Guard Sarah Mulroy, who averaged 2.3 points, rounds out the returning group.
"Andrea runs the floor well and is a good rebounder," Amundson said. "We're looking for Kristi to do some scoring inside. She's 6-2, strong, a good athlete and very strong. And Sarah should give us solid minutes, is a good defender and can hit the open shot."
The three new freshmen are Kayla Gustafson, a guard, forward Erin Karlsgodt and guard LeeAnn Karlsgodt. Gustafson will be looked to provide a defensive spark, Erin Karlsgodt will play inside and outside. LeeAnn Karlsgodt will be used as a perimeter shooter.
Defensively the Raiders will primarily play man-to-man and throw in an occasional zone defense. But Amundson feels a man defense will give his squad the best chance for success.
"I truly believe if you're going to be a good team you're best defense has to be a man-to-man," said Amundson. "We'll mix it up and play a little zone, a higher 1-3-1 because if we go really big we could have some success with that defense and force opponents to throw over the top."
Offensively Amundson isn't hiding the fact that the offense will run through Stach and Rosecrans.
"It's my responsibility to put people in positions to have success," said Amundson. "Hopefully I can do that. Obviously we want Courtney and Kim to take the bulk of our shots along with Kristi and Andrea inside. I feel we can be balanced, but with two high scorers returning from last year, there's no question they should get a few more shots."
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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