Both the Quandt field house and Berg gym have lain
quiet for nearly eight months, but that is about to change.
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at The
University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point are all set to start another season of
The men’s team starts Thursday with a game at Lawrence
University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Their first home game comes on Tuesday, November
20th, against St. John’s University from Minnesota.
The women’s team is set to face Millkin University in
Illinois on Thursday and play their first home game against Marion University,
also on Tuesday, November 20th.
It was a tough end to last season for the Pointers men.
They started the season 19-4 but ended losing four of their last five games,
including a loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The women’s team won the WIAC conference tournament
title and shared the regular season title with The University of Wisconsin- Eau
Claire last season.
The team finished with a 24-5 record overall and a 13-3
in the conference. The Pointers women won in the first round of the NCAA
tournament but were defeated in the second round.
Both teams come prepared for this season with a full
off-season of work put in. “Each off-season is set up knowing that we have to
prepare to play one of the best schedules in the country,” said assistant men’s
basketball coach, Kent Dernbach.
“Our seniors, Tyler Tillema and Jordan Giordana, run
captain practices, organize lifting sessions and team practice sessions,”
“We’ve worked hard over the summer, and we’ve had a
great pre-season,” said head women’s basketball coach Shirley Egner.
“We’ve been in the weight room, we’ve had long runs, we
had a triathlon and we also did some swimming,” Egner said. “We have done a
variety of workouts to get ready for the season.”
Both teams also have a player on the D3hoops.com
pre-season all-American list. For the men, Tillema was named to the second team
all-American list. Senior Sam Barber was honored with a first team all-American
nod for the women’s team.
With their star players, you would expect the coaches
to say that the team will play as well as their stars, but that was not the case.
“I’m a firm believer that the starters will cancel each
other out, and the reserve players are the ones that will make a difference,”
“The team that can win that bench battle and go deeper
into their bench will be the team that comes out successful, so we’re hoping
that our depth will provide that.”
The men’s team will look to most of its roster to step
up and play at their highest level, but one group has to really step up,
explained Dernbach. “Our group of sophomores has to play at a high level and
play like upperclassmen,” he said.
According to the WIAC preseason rankings, the Pointers
women are predicted to finish first in the conference, with the men’s team
predicted to finish second behind The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The expectations for both teams are very high going
into the season, but both coaches say that the team is used to high
“Our expectation year in and year out are WIAC
championships, and to go as deep as we can in the NCAA tournament,” Egner said.
“Those goals have never changed for our team.”
“The team always has the expectation that we want to
put ourselves in a position when it comes to it for a conference title,”
In the pre-season rankings, the men’s and women’s team
stands at 15 and 7, respectively, but neither coach puts stock into pre-season
“It’s great for recruiting, and that’s all that
matters,” Egner said. “They don’t really mean anything to us.”
“It probably has a lot to do with the tradition at this
university,” Dernbach said. “It wouldn’t be right if only one team from our
conference was ranked in the top 25.”
“The best thing about the pre-season rankings is that
it drums up more support from our fans.”
Fan support is key for any sport but especially so for
“We want to get the students to come out and support
our team,” Dernbach said. “It makes a huge difference on the game environment,
which affects team performance as well as recruiting. We want to make our home
games’ atmosphere into one of the best in all of Division III basketball.”