The Gustavus women’s basketball team enters the 2007-08 season hungry to return to the MIAC Post-Season Tournament with three starters and eight letterwinners returning from a team that posted a 22-6 overall record, finished second in the MIAC with a 18-4 mark, and made its fourth NCAA tournament appearance. Head Coach Mickey Haller will look to senior captain and MIAC Player of the Year Jess Vadnais along with senior captain Vicky Peterson to help lead a young squad picked to finish third in the MIAC Preseason Coaches Poll.
Perimeter play will anchor a Gustavus team looking to create an up-tempo game. Vadnais (Hudson, Wis.), a senior sharp-shooting guard who led the MIAC with an average of 18.7 points a game last season, will continue her assault on the Gustavus offensive record books. As reigning MIAC Player of the Year and a WBCA/Kodak All-American, she is on pace to become the all-time scoring leader at Gustavus this season, needing only 223 points to break the record set by Bri Monahan one year ago. Sophomore point guard Brianna Radtke (Winsted, Minn.) started every game last season averaging 5.2 points and 2.7 assists per game. Sophomore guard Julia Schultz (Marshall, Minn.) will join Radtke and Vadnais in a backcourt lineup that led the league in assists last season. Schultz started every game last season and averaged 6.0 points and 3.6 rebounds. Junior Emily Nelson (Mankato, Minn.), who missed a significant part of last season with a knee injury, and newcomer Kirsten Prunty (New Ulm, Minn.) will challenge Schultz for a starting spot on the wing. Nelson is a seasoned veteran, who is a serious three-point threat. Prunty was an honorable mention All-State performer at New Ulm Cathedral last season. Sophomores Amber Steffenhagen (Lake City, Minn.) and Kristin Thisius (Wells, Minn.) will provide depth on the wings, while newcomer Elise Biewen from Edina High School will come off the bench to add depth at the point guard position.
The Gustavus frontcourt will need to replace Bri Monahan, the all-time Gustavus scoring leader and three-time All-MIAC player, and Erin Boese, a two-time MIAC All-Defensive honoree. Sophomore Katie Layman (Hudson, Wis.) showed good promise coming off the bench last season to relieve Boese and Monahan. She averaged 5.3 points and 3 rebounds per game. Vicky Peterson (Plymouth, Minn.), who is returning from a knee injury that ended her season last January, will be expected to step in and give the team a veteran presence in the post. She averaged 3.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 26 games during her sophomore season. Two newcomers, Molly Mathiowetz (Sleppy Eye, Minn.) and Brittany Holm (Benson, Minn.), will contend for starting spots in the frontcourt. Both players are equally talented on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Mathiowetz was an All-State performer last year at Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s, while Holm was a two-time All-Conference performer at Benson High School. Junior Rachael Driscoll (Delavan, Minn.) and sophomore Bayli Vandelanotte (Cottonwood, Minn.) add depth to the post. The development of the young frontcourt will be a key for the Gusties’ success this season.
Coach Haller, who has compiled a mark of 131-49 in her seven seasons at Gustavus, needs 19 wins to reach 150 victories in her career at Gustavus. The Golden Gusties will open the regular season and MIAC play by hosting Macalester on November 28. During the holiday break, Gustavus will take part in the San Diego Surf ‘n Slam Tournament being held at Point Loma Nazarene University from December 27-29. The Gusties will face #20-UW-Eau Claire in the first round.