STORY BY: BLAKE SUTHERLAND STAFF WRITER
STORY EDITED BY SPORTS EDITOR CHRIS POUNDS
Moving forward from a season ending loss in the second round of the WNIT, Wright State’s women’s basketball team still has the opportunity to achieve great things next season with all 5 starters returning.
365 days following a first round blow out in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament to Michigan, Wright State’s basketball team, beat Central Michigan, and would look to go into Ann Arbor to find redemption.
Senior Chelsea Welch, and the Raider team had a large amount of confidence going into the game.
“Going to a BCS school, playing bigger girls we’ve been doing it every game, so it’s nothing different, just the name,” said Welch.
The game would not go in the Raiders favor.
The Wolverines would be the cause for the start of Wright State’s offseason once again after beating the Raiders 71-66 on Saturday, March 22.
Despite the loss and everything that comes with it, (the end of the season and the loss of one senior, Antania Hayes) the Raiders still have a lot to look forward to when the 2018 season starts.
The Raiders will return all five starters from this past season. Juniors Chelsea Welch, and Lexi Smith and sophomores, Symone Simmons, Emily Vogelpohl, and Mackenzie Taylor should all return to the court to begin games for the Raiders with another season under their belts.
For Welch, she’ll be entering the season with high expectations. The Pittsburg transfer finished the season averaging just under 20 points a game. Welch finished the regular season named an All-Horizon League First Team member.
Smith finished the Horizon League tournament named to the All-Tournament team while finishing third in the conference in rebounding behind teammate Simmons.
¾ of Wright State’s roster were made up of primarily freshman and sophomores, many of whom did not see a lot of action on the court outside of freshman Myrthe den Heeten.
For head coach Katrina Merriweather, it doesn’t matter to her that this team is returning their entire squad.
“Every year is a different team so you have to wait to find out how the freshman are going to gel,” said Merriweather. “It’s easy to say, ‘Well you’ll just be better next year’. You lose Hayes but you get all these players and there’s chemesty we have to make sure is on the same page, there are a ton of factors that go along with winning, not just talent. So we still have some work to do to get back to where we are.”
While it may be too early to predict how the Raiders will favor against their Horizon League competition next year it’s worth noting that for the two teams that beat Wright State in conference play; Detroit Mercy is losing two seniors including leading scorer and rebounder, while Green Bay is losing three seniors including espnW Mid-Major Player of the Year Mehryn Kraker.
“Some people will tell you, you can rebuild but I say you start over every year because it’s not the same team,” said Merriweather
WSU vs. UM
“Every year is a different team so you have to wait to find out how the freshman are going to gel,” said Merriweather.