By Katie Krull
Another promising year has approached for the SMU women’s basketball team.
Their season unofficially started Nov. 10 with a scrimmage against Winona State. The Cardinals held a steady lead to win 74-68. The Cardinals beat the Division II ranked Warriors on their home court, heading into the North Central Tournament with a win under their belt.
The roster has jumped from 15 to 19 over the last year, with 11 returners and eight freshmen. The team has four senior captains: Courtney Athnos, Brittany Begrowicz, Jamie Stefley and Jessica Thone.
“We have the right people in the program, and we continue to get better just because of the kind of people that they are,” said Head Coach Mandy Pearson.
Over the past four seasons, the Cardinals have improved their record substantially. Last year, they had a .519 season. They are looking to continue their improvement with a young group of student-athletes.
This year the Cardinals have recruited eight new freshmen and only graduated one senior. Some would say that having a young team could bring about losses through lack of chemistry and inexperience, but the scrimmage against Winona State proved differently.
Pearson has been coaching the team for the last five seasons, helping transform the team into the fighting force they are today.
Fifth-year returning senior Brittany Begrowicz also saw the progression of this team and compares their success to their experience. “We are a really experienced team,” she said. “We have a lot of freshmen, but they are doing well in this first couple weeks.”
This season the Cardinals are hoping to improve their record and return to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) playoffs with some vengeance after last year’s loss to St. Thomas in the second round.
This year SMU’s greatest rivalry is against the Gustavus Adolphus Gusties. The Gusties were the Cardinals’ only substantial losses last season. There has been an upset in the conference though because top ranked Gustavus has lost four starters as well as their head coach.
The Cardinals are getting stronger and stronger with every practice. So come support your Saint Mary’s Cardinals this season!