MILWAUKEE – The 2017-18 NCAA Basketball season is about to begin. The Mount Mary University basketball team will join the opening week with a pair of games at the Bloechl Center. Following last year's 8-12 finish where they tied the program's single season record for wins, the Blue Angels are ready to get the approaching season underway.
The Blue Angels said "good-bye" to two integral seniors, Jess Runge ('17) and Ariel Oviedo ('17) as the duo tied the program's record for wins in a season in their final season. The two were major contributors. Oviedo started in each of the 20 games last season while swiping away an average of 2.3 steals per contest and contributing 7.0 points and 2.7 assists per game. Runge led MMU on both ends of the court with 15.0 points and 3.1 steals per game, not to mention her 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists each night.
This year's team brings a class of four new freshmen to the Blue Angel ranks. Adding much length to the team, the four new recruits average a standing height of 5'9" with newcomer Trinity Jackson-Branch standing tallest at 5-11.
23 Kaylie Cook G Fr. 5-8 Fairborn, Ohio / Fairborn
32 Trinity Jackson-Branch F Fr. 5-11 Madison, Wis. / Madison West
34 Kirsten George F Fr. 5-10 Fairborn, Ohio / Fairborn
44 Erica Williams F/G Fr. 5-7 Bloomington, Ill. / Bloomington
Kaylie Cook (Fr./Fairborn, Ohio) provides additional length at the guard position standing at 5-8. The rookie has already shown control and the ballhandling Mount Mary Head Basketball Coach Marc Heidorf is looking for this season.
"Ball Security: this is a squad that can fill the hoop. The less empty possessions we have, the more opportunities to have them do what they do best," replied coach Heidorf while discussing his points of emphasis this season.
Along with the new group, the Blue Angels return four from last year's roster. The year of experience is likely to show through this season, as the Blue Angels return three sophomores and their senior leader Becky Onan (Grafton, Wis.) to the court.
10 Lucy Pavelko G So. 5-3 Muskego, Wis. / Muskego
14 Brooke Uebersetzig G So. 5-3 Greenwood, Ind. / Greenwood
24 Rae Grubbs G/F So. 5-8 Covington, Ind. / North Vermillion
35 Becky Onan F/G Sr. 5-10 Grafton, Wis. / Cedarburg
The closely knit group returns with a bulk of scoring options in 2017-18. Onan averaged 13.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.3 blocks last season. Onan is no stranger to contributing to the Blue Angels success, the fourth year senior is the official career points leader (744) at MMU since the Blue Angels joined the NCAA. (It should be noted that prior to the full-time installation of the Mount Mary Sports Information Department in 2014, there are many gaps in game statistics. Jordan Osley ('11) is second in scoring with 693 career points and has multiple games missing in her game log including the two season prior to MMU joining the NCAA.)
Rae Grubbs (So./Covington, Ind.) returns after she led the rookie class in scoring with 9.4 points per game. Grubbs did her best to clear up the ball in the paint as she led the freshman class in rebounds with 4.2 per game last season. Starting in all 20 games and averaging 34.0 minutes per game last year gives the sophomore plenty of experience going forward.
In her second season, Brooke Uebersetzig (So./Greenwood, Ind.) comes back to MMU as another 20-game starter. The crafty point guard averaged 35.5 minutes per game in 2016-17, and gave her team 8.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Uebersetzig's positive disposition both on and off the court can help stem the tide during the most difficult situations. The point guard also contributes on the defensive side of the ball with 1.0 steals per game.
Rounding out the returners, Lucy Pavelko (So./Muskego, Wis.) returns with 17 games of experience under her belt. The sophomore was fourth on the team in field goal percentage in 2016-17 with 36.0 percent while scoring 3.6 points per game. After pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game last season, Pavelko has been shown to be a guard that can help out all over the court.
"As we talked about before the season even began: show up on time and when you're here make sure you are going as hard as you can," explained coach Heidorf. "As we figure things out and go through our growing pains, at some point we will hit our stride and ultimately have a good chance to be playing our best basketball, and seeing our best results in January and February."
The Blue Angels open the season with four Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference opponents in Dominican, Edgewood, Marian and Alverno. After MMU opened up last season with a win over Marian, the Blue Angels hope to stretch out their success against NACC this year to get off to big start.
This season MMU Basketball will continue their relationship with BoxCast as every home game in 2017-18 will have live video available here and will be streamed via Facebook Live. To get the full schedule, roster and statistics for all the past and upcoming games, go to mtmaryathletics.com.