It’s time for an MIAC women’s preview

So I haven’t mentioned the MIAC yet. Shame on me. But, hey, defending champion Gustavus Adolphus only opened its season last night, while Bethel only plays its opener this coming Saturday. And, it was also just yesterday that Carleton announced that it would be cancelling its 2023-2024 season due to a rash of injuries that has reduced its roster to just 6 healthy players. So, now would seem to be the time. And, since the MIAC did not conduct the customary coaches’ pre-season poll, it would seem to be up to me.

1. Gustavus Adolphus. The pre-season favorite is an easy choice. The Gusties won the regular season and post-season titles a year ago at 20-2 (conference) and 26-3 (overall). They return 7 contributors including 6-foot junior post Megan Kelly (St. Peter), daughter of coach Megan Kelly; 5-11 junior forward Rachel Kawiecki (Holy Angels); 5-9 senior forward Izzy Quick (Champlin Park); Kylie Baranick, 5-6 junior point guard (Maple Grove); and Emma Kniefel, 5-9 senior guard (Medford). These 5 scored 42 ppg last year, and the returning 7 scored 51 ppg. Freshman wing Peyton Stevermer (Mankato East) is also expected to be a contributor as Gustavus most likely repeats as MIAC champion.

3. Concordia. Well, I hate to be so unoriginal but the Cobbers finished 2nd last year in both the regular season and the post-season, and they should do the same again this year. This year, they are led by senior guards Emily Beseman (5-6, Swanville) and North Dakotan Jordyn Kahler. Along with junior forward Greta Tollefson (Pelican Rapids), the Cobbers’ contributors will be North Dakotans Carlee Sieben and Makayla Anderson, who have scored 32 ppg in 3 games so far this year. Only Gustavus is deeper.

3. St. Benedict’s. St. Ben’s finished tied for 3rd a year ago at 18-9, and returns double digit scorers Carly Meyer, 5-6 senior point guard from Totino-Grace (15 ppg-5 reb-4 asts) and Sophia Jonas, a 5-6 junior wing from Wisconsin. Forwards Lydia Hay (6-0, senior, Wayzata) and Olivia Bolly (5-10, junior, Wisconsin) give St. Ben’s a strong inside presence as well.

4. St. Catherine’s. St. Cates finished 11-11 a year ago and should be improved this year. They return 5-11 forwards Greta Schiminowski (junior, Mahtomedi) and Emma Golembiewski (sophomore, Wisconsin); 5-7 junior forward Rachel Randleman (Wisconsin); and 5-6 senior guard Karis Zezza (St. Michael-Albertville). Freshmen Hattie Fox (5-8 guard, Wisconsin) and Lily Peper (5-9 forward, Roseville) will also contribute. They, too, have excellent depth.

5. Hamline. The Pipers tied St. Ben’s for 3rd last year and return 3 big-time contributors in 5-10 senior forward Lydia Lecher (Concordia), 5-5 senior guard Michaela Stamer (Hutchinson) and 5-8 sophomore guard Camille Cummings (Centennial). Josh Hersch takes over as head coach, and depth may be an issue.

6. Augsburg. The Auggies and legendary coach Ted Riverso slipped to 10-12 last year but should move back up in the MIAC standings. They return 5-10 senior forward Anja Smith (from Wisconsin), who scored 23 points with 10 rebounds in the season opener, and Kalena Myers, a 5-4 senior guard (Apple Valley) who opened the year with 18 pts, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. 5-11 sophomore post Amira LaDuke (Cass Lake) will also contribute.

7. St. Olaf. The Olies were middle-of-the-pack a year ago (11-11 conference, 14-12 overall) and figure to be as good or better this year. They return 5-9 junior guard Sarah Tangen (Detroit Lakes), among several others. They have pretty good depth but not much in the way of star power.

8. Bethel under coach Jon Herbrechtsmeyer slumped to 8th place last year and the 2020 conference champions figure to be in rebuilding mode again in 2023-2024. They return 5-9 senior guard Anna Garfield (Blaine) who scored 10 points with 6 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals a year ago.

9. St. Scholastica, the newest member of the conference, just 1-23 a year ago, appears to be improving. They return 5-8 sophomore guard Lexi Imdieke (Andover), who scored 20 points in their 2023 opener. Sophomore Jackie Johnson (Bemidji) and freshmen Gabby Voigt (St. Michael-Albertville) and Kloey Lind (Pine City) also appear ready to lead a resurgence.

10. St. Mary’s, 8-14 and 9-16 a year ago, will be led by junior guard Izzy Goetelman (Winona), who scored 15 in the season opener; and sophomores Maddie Lind (5-4 guard, Wisconsin) and Riley Schierbeck (6-2 forward, Iowa).

11. Macalester. Long-time doormats in the MIAC, the Scots finished 11th with 6 wins each of the past 2 seasons. They will be led by Peyton Starks, a 51-0 junior forward from Missouri, who scored 22 ppg as Macalester opened 2023 with a win and a loss.

12. Carleton. As noted, the Knights have cancelled their season, a sad state of affairs with legendary coach Tammy Metcalf-Filzen back in the saddle and their improvement from just 14 wins combined in 3 seasons (2018, 2019 and 2020), to 18 wins in 2 seasons (2022 and 2023). Jasmine Choi, a 5-10 senior guard from Osseo, figured to be their leader after scoring 14 ppg with 6 rebounds last year.

Top Players

Center–Makayla Anderson, Concordia, 5-11, junior, (North Dakota) 15 ppg-8 reb-2 stls (so far in 2023-2024)

Power Forward–Lydia Lecher, Hamline, 5-10, senior, (Concordia) 13 ppg-6 reb 9 (2022-2023)

Point Guard–Carly Meyer, St. Ben’s, 5-6, senior, (Totino-Grace) 15 ppg-5 reb-4 asts (2023); pre-season player of the year.

Combo Guard–Kylie Baranick, Gustavus, 5-6, junior (Maple Grove) 11 ppg-3 reb-4 asts-2 stls (2023)

Shooting Guard–Lexi Imdieke, St. Scholastica, 5-8, soph, (Andover) 20 ppg-3 asts (2024)

2nd Team

Center–Rachel Kawiecki, Gustavus , 5-11, junior (Holy Angels) 8 ppg-6 reb-2 asts (2023)

Power Forward–Anja Smith, Augsburg, 5-10, senior (Wisconsin) 23 ppg-10 reb-4 stls (2024)

Point Guard–Kalena Myers, Augsburg, 5-4, senior (Apple Valley) 18 ppg-6 reb-2 ast-4 stls (2024)

Combo Guard–Emma Kniefel, Gustavus, 5-9, senior (Medford) 11 ppg-3 reb (2023)

Shooting Guard–Izzy Goetelman, St. Mary’s, 5-7, junior (Winona) 15 ppg-10 reb-6 stls (2024)

3rd Team

Center–Amira LaDuke, Augsburg, 5-11, soph, (Cass Lake) 10 ppg-2 reb (2023)

Power Forward–Peyton Starks, Macalester, 5-10, junior, (Missouri) 22 ppg-7 reb-2 ast-3 stl (2024)

Small Forward–Jasmine Choi, Carleton, 5-10, senior, (Osseo) 14 ppg-6 reb-2 stls (2023) (will not play due to Carleton cancelling its season)

Point Guard–Anna Garfield, Bethel, 5-8, senior (Blaine) 10 ppg-6 reb-2 ast-2 stl (2023)

Shooting Guard–Carlee Sieben, Concordia, 5-7, junior (North Dakota) 17 ppg (2024)


Center–Kloey Lind, St. Scholastica, 6-1, fr., (Pine City) 8 ppg-7 reb (2024)

Power Forward–Genevieve Gruba, Concordia, 6-0, fr. (North Dakota)  5 ppg-3 reb (2024)

Point Guard–Hattie Fox, St. Cate’s. 5-8, fr., (Wisconsin) 18 ppg-9 reb-3 ast (2024)

Shooting Guard–Lily Peper, St. Cate’s, 5-9, fr., (Roseville) 8 ppg-4 reb (2024)

Shooting Guard–Peyton Stevermer, Gustavus, 5-8, fr., (Mankato East)