No one knows that better than the Auggie Women’s Basketball team, who some may shift the first sentence of this story around to say are ‘on paper a high speed car wreck.’
But luckily for head coach Jennifer Britz and her young group of run-n-gunners, the games are not played on paper, meaning that their 4-21 record from last season is nothing but a distant memory. With only four wins, their star player Shannon Renee having departed from the program, and an even younger group of women this year, there is no doubt that Britz will have to mold this group into one that can win games.
The departure of current senior Renee will undoubtedly hurt the team’s progression, with her leaving the program to graduate early, but Augsburg does return their other two top scorers, sophomore forward Brittany Dyshaw and junior point guard Serenae Levine. “Two tremendously talented players,” said Augsburg Athletics analyst Brett Cloutier. “They will need to shoulder most of the offensive load this year with Renee gone.”
Augsburg lost no one to graduation, so there is optimism around Britz’ program that one more year in the system gives the Auggies a chance to eclipse the career high seven wins Britz accomplished with Augsburg in both 2004-05 and 2007-08.
On offense, Augsburg put up 61 points/game last season, clearly not the main problem, but giving up nearly 80 a contest would hit closer to the issue. “The defense wasn’t good last year,” said Cloutier. “They got beat on a lot of run outs and will need to do a better job getting back on D this season.”
With the fast-paced game the Auggies play, it’s easy to rush shots and get caught up in the style of play, but they will need to improve their efficiency on the offensive end, as they shot only 34 percent from the field last year if they hope to reach that seven win mark and then some.
Additionally, the Auggies were outrebounded by nearly eight/gm last year, and only registered 46 blocks on the year, showing a lack of muscle inside. Should Dyshaw, who could be the key to this team on both ends of the floor, be able play bigger inside and make an impact on the glass, it would be an immeasurable asset for this team and a definite step in the right direction.
But despite all the question marks and high turnover in the program, a new season always brings a new chance at success, one Britz will relish. “You have a new year and a new chance,” said Cloutier. “Nothing like a fresh start to motivate.”
Augsburg opens their season in Mount Vernon, Iowa this Friday at 8 p.m. against Mount Mercy College.