NIC’s women’s basketball team is ready for another season. The 2012-2013 year for the Lady Cardinals looks promising.
The team has seven returning players from last year’s Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship team.
Sophomore Katie Buskey, who earned ALL-SWAC honors last season, is joined by sophomores Angela Woods, Tori Davenport, Aimee Durbidge, Mollie Kramer, Hannah Love and Danika Johnson.
“Katie was the only freshman to be All-League last year,” said head coach Chris Carlson. “I think she’s matured a lot as a guard. She has to keep maturing. She needs to learn how to keep her head in the game no matter what the situations are in front of her.”
Carlson said the rest of the sophomores are also expected to play big roles this season.
“I just think their chemistry and experience is the biggest thing,” Carlson said. “I think all of our sophomores at one point or another already have shown so much maturity and all of them are going to be key contributors to the team this year.”
This year’s team is hoping to beat last year’s overall record of 23-6 and SWAC record of 12-3.
Durbidge said that this year’s team is planning on staying focused and working hard to not just win another SWAC title, but go even further.
“We won the SWAC title last year and then we didn’t make it to nationals,” Durbidge said. “So it was a massive learning experience for us and we have high expectations of ourselves. But we know what we have to do and we know what it takes to get there this time.”
There are five new players on this year’s squad.
Transfer Kabri Emerson has joined NIC after one season at Montana State–Billings.
Two Australians, Georgia Stirton and Renae Mokrzycki, have come up to North Idaho from down under to join the Lady Cardinals.
“We picked up I think three freshmen that are all capable of starting,” Carlson said. “So far I’m not ruling out any freshmen, but Georgia Stirton and Renae and Kabri Emerson have really been playing well so far.”
The team has also added two local talents in Jansen Butler and Maggie Kirscher.
Butler was a starter for Lake City High School making 33 three-pointers as a senior last year.
Kirscher joins the team from Sandpoint High School. She was named to the Idaho 4A All-Inland Empire League Team for a third time in a row after leading the league in scoring at 15 points per game and jumping for six rebounds per game last year as a senior.
“I expect a lot out of my team, especially since last year ended how we didn’t want it to end at Salt Lake,” Buskey said. “So we have a lot of revenge out and I think that we are preparing ourselves well in practice and going hard at each other.”
NIC is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation according to the National Junior College Athletic Association polls.
The Lady Cardinals will tip off at home against the North Idaho All-Stars in an exhibition game Nov. 3 at 5:30 and they will then hit the road to face off against Williston State College in Williston, N.D., Nov. 8 at 4.