Nov 14, 2017

2017-18 Women's Basketball Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

 
  • NCAA D-III National Champions (2009)
  • Three NCAA "Final Four" appearances (2009, 2012, 2015)
  • Six NCAA "Elite 8" appearances (2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015)
  • Nine NCAA "Sweet 16" appearances (2000, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016)
  • 13 NCAA National Tournament appearances in 16 years (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 11 Northwest Conference Championships (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016)
  • 24 straight winning seasons (1994-2017)
  • 13 Top 25 national rankings (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Three NCAA Division III National Coaches of the Year
  • Six NCAA Division III Region Coaches of the Year
  • 11 Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 18 All-Americans
  • One Academic All-American
  • Three Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Finalists (Justine Benner - 2015, Keisha Gordon - 2012, Katy Campbell - 2008)
  • One Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Winner (Kristen Shielee - 2009)
  • One George Fox Pasero Team of the Year (2009)
  • One Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year Award (Scott Rueck - 2009 finalist)
 

By: Jake Bienvenue

NEWBERG, Ore. --- Coming off of a 2016-2017 season that ended with an NCAA Division III Tournament berth for the fourth year in a row, the George Fox women's basketball team is ready to, once again, put the Northwest Conference on notice.

Head coach Michael Meek enters his eighth season of leadership with the program with an overall record of 180-27 (.870), good for third on the All-Divisions (NCAA Div. I, II, III) winningest coaches list.

The 2017-2018 Bruins look different than past teams, possessing a more balanced and loaded core of players made up primarily of underclassmen but with strong veteran leadership. Although the team is young, the players possess both maturity and poise.

The Northwest Conference will be stacked this year with two teams in the WBCA Coaches' Top 25: No. 9 Whitman and No. 11 Puget Sound. The Bruins also have a strong non-conference schedule outside of conference, hosting No. 8 Trinity and traveling to No. 3 St. Thomas and Bethel.

Despite featuring one of the toughest schedules in recent years, Meek's goal for the team is to win a conference title, and he believes they can.

The 2017-2018 team includes six freshmen, six sophomores, three juniors and two seniors. According to Meek, the sophomore and junior classes will be exciting this season, with excellent athletes and shooters.

Kaitlin Jamieson returns for her final season as a Bruin with her sights set on being both a top player in the Northwest Conference and a leader for this talented young team. Last season, she averaged 13 points (8th), 6.7 rebounds (6th) and 3.1 blocks per game (1st). Jamieson's field goal percentage was through the roof (56.9%), good for best in the conference.

Julie Litchfield is another veteran leader on this team, possessing a strong work ethic and improving each year of her career, leading to her position as team captain last season.

The Bruins' junior class is comprised of Tavin Headings, Haylee Hutzler and Matney Jamieson. The trio look to expand their roles this year, led by Headings, who paced the team in 3-point percentage (36.1) and was second among returners in scoring (7.8).

Last year featured a strong freshman class that returns with more skill and experience, featuring Emily Spencer, Kylin Collman, Emma Klym, Hailey Hartney, Haley Strowbridge and Emily Holder.

Meek is also excited about his freshman class, bringing in Demi Guild, Madison Hull, Sydney Richwine, Dani Harley, Brooke McCall and Alexa Ray.

"This team is one of the highest character groups that I can recall," Meek shared. "They've been awesome about supporting one another, have a team-first attitude, and are willing to share each other's' successes. It's been an awesome team to work with each day with their drive to improve and care for one another. It's been fun for our staff to be around a culture of kids like that on a daily basis."

Overall, the team is excited to begin a new season competing in front of George Fox's supportive and loyal fan base.

"It's been uplifting to see the fan support at George Fox for women's athletics," added Meek. "The atmosphere itself has been inspiring and our players care deeply about the way they represent our university."