Young team has high hopes


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Violet Kapri Morrow going to the rim against Saint Martin’s in an exhibition.

By Grace Pohl, Staff Writer

After one of their best seasons to date in program history with a record of 21-12 and 12-6 in conference, the Eagles women’s basketball team is ready to make an even bigger impact coming into this year.

While taking a cut in the roster, losing an overall of seven players in the offseason, the team is coming in young and fresh. Out of the twelve-woman roster, six of them are freshman. The other six consists of three sophomores, two juniors and one senior.

The team only has five returning players from last season, including Hayley Hodgins, Delaney Hodgins, Tisha Phillips, Bethany Montgomery and Mariah Cunningham. Phillips – who only averaged around 14 minutes a game last season – will now most likely be a starter with the significant loss in players. The lone senior, Hayley Hodgins, already has her name in headlines as she was named to the preseason all-Big Sky Conference team.

Head coach Wendy Schuller told the Spokesman-Review, “I know we’ll be competitive … The bottom line is we have a great group of young ladies who want to work and be here and are proud to be Eagles. I’m excited, and my staff is excited about moving forward with these five players.”

The season opener is on Nov. 13 at Reese Court against Eastern Oregon University. In the 2015-2016 preseason polls, the Eagles have been picked to finish sixth by the media and ninth by the league coaches. “I’ve never put a whole lot of stock in preseason polls,” said Schuller via “We’ve got two of the best players in the conference back in Hayley and Delaney Hodgins, and we have a number of other talented players. I think Tisha Phillips is ready to break out and become a great player in this league and Ashli Payne is a really solid junior college transfer who will help us quite a bit.”

One of the new additions to the Eagles is Ashli Payne. She played two seasons at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Not only did she help lead her team to a 27-5 record, she averaged 17.8 points per game and brought a whole new element to the team.

The players expected to carry over their leadership from last year on the court will be Hayley Hodgins and her sister Delaney Hodgins, as this is their last year playing next to each other with Hayley being a redshirt senior. Hayley averaged 30 minutes per game last season while her sister averaged 28.9 minutes as a freshman. With more shoes to fill this year, Schueller expects them to shine even more on the court and lead their team to victory.

The women’s basketball team may be young, but they are going to fight to prove themselves as a championship team.