Women's basketball picked first in IIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll

Women's basketball picked first in IIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll

A year after failing to win the Iowa Conference title for the first time in six seasons, the league coaches predict the Simpson women's basketball team to return to the top in 2014-15.

The Storm received five of a possible seven first-place votes and placed second on the other two ballots to finish with a league-high 54 points. Last year's conference champion, Loras received two first-place votes to finish with 48 points while Coe received one first-place vote and finished with 42 points.

The Storm and 28th-year head coach Brian Niemuth return three starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's team that went 14-12 overall and 9-5 in the conference to finish fourth.

A Look at the 2014-15 Season

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Starting Out

  • Simpson is out to a 1-1 start after splitting play at the UW-La Crosse/Holiday Inn Express Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 15-16 in La Crosse, Wis. The Storm opened play by setting a school-record for margin of victory in a 107-26 rout of Mount Mary on Saturday but couldn't come all the way back from a 19-point deficit in a 50-47 loss to the host Eagles.

According to Coach Niemuth

  • On getting back to the top of the IIAC ... 
    • "We like the view at the top, but its hard to get there and its hard to stay there. A lot of things have to happen. You have to stay healthy, you have to get a few lucky breaks in close games and you have to win on the road. It's going to be an interesting year."
  • On depth ...
    • "It could be one of those years where it is a different player leading us every night."

Returning Starters

  • Brittany Hedrick | G, 5-7, So.
    • 1-year letterwinner from Ankeny, Iowa ... 2014 HM all-IIAC ... 2013-14: 10.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg ... 2nd on the team in scoring ... led team in assists (67) and tied for team lead in steals (38) ... 2nd on the team in 3-pointers (30) ... started 17 of 23 games played.
  • Whitney Van Wyk | G, 5-10, Jr.
    • 2-year letterwinner from Altoona, Iowa ... 2014 HM all-IIAC ... 2013-14: 6.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg ... 2nd on the team in rebounding and assists (49) ... tied for team lead in steals (38) ... 2.04 assist/turnover ratio ... started 15 of 19 games played.
  • Morgan Mauro | G, 5-9, Jr.
    • 2-year letterwinner from Des Moines, Iowa ... 2014 Academic all-IIAC ... 2013-14: 7.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg ... led team in 3-pointers (53) and led the IIAC in 3-point percentage (.438) ... started all 26 games.

Other Key Returners

  • MacKenzie Haupt | G, 5-6, Jr.
    • 1-year letterwinner from Clarion, Iowa ... 2013-14: 6.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg ... appeared in 25 games, starting 2.
  • Katie Ahrenholtz | F, 5-11, So.
    • 1-year letterwinner from Slater, Iowa ... 2013-14: 5.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg ... appeared in 26 games, starting 5.
  • Maddie Muhlenbruck | G, 5-8, Jr.
    • 2-year letterwinner from Ankeny, Iowa ... 2014 Academic all-IIAC ... 2013-14: 5.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg ... ranked 3rd on the team in assists (39) and 4th in steals (32) ... appeared in 26 games, starting 12.
  • Maddie Bosworth | G, 5-6, Jr.
    • 2-year letterwinner from West Des Moines, Iowa ... 2013-14: 4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg ... appeared in 20 games, starting 7.
  • Rachel Kaale | F, 5-9, So.
    • 1-year letterwinner from Indianola, Iowa ... 2013-14: 2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg ... came off the bench in 22 games.
  • Annie Gullickson | P, 6-2, Jr.
    • 2-year letterwinner from Ossian, Iowa ... 2013-14: 2.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg ... blocked 9 shots ... came off the bench in 22 games.

By the Numbers

  • 17: Simpson has had 17 consecutive winning seasons under Brian Niemuth. The last time the Storm finished below .500 was in 1996-97 (11-14).
  • 8: Number of players who led the team in scoring at least one time during the 2013-14 season. Of those eight, six (Haupt, Ahrenholtz, Mauro, Muhlenbruck, Hedrick and Van Wyk) return.
  • 7: Number of players returning this season who averaged more than 10 minutes of playing time 2013-14. Each of the players made at least one start during the season, a testament to the team's depth.
Storm lose to Wartburg
January 31, 2015 Storm lose to Wartburg