Luke Hare, Staff Writer
While the Saint Martin’s Women’s Basketball season did not go as planned, there will be a lot of key returning players, meaning that hopes are high for next year.
One of the most important pieces returning is the Saints’ post presence. They will be returning all but one listed forward, two of whom will be seniors, Megan Nilsson and Bria Thames. Both Nilsson and Thames had significantly improved performances through the second half of the season. Nilsson averaged 6.8 points per game (PPG) in league play, and collected four rebounds per game. Her standout performance came in the final game of the season against Western Oregon, where she dropped a season-high 23 points while only playing 19 minutes. She went nine for 11 from the field and five of six from the free throw line. During the second half of league play, Thames was nearly unstoppable. It didn’t matter who was guarding her- she shot a team high 51 percent from the field, averaged 8.8 PPG, and collected six rebounds per game as well. Thames’ best performance came in the final game of the season, where she dropped 18 points and collected an insane 18 rebounds.
The team will get back nearly all guards as well, including GNAC Honorable Mention Makenna Schultz. While Schultz’s position was changed to point guard this year instead of shooting guard in previous years, she played very well. She still led the team in three pointers made, free-throw percentage, assists per game, and averaged 11.3 PPG. Schultz was the lone Saint to rack up more assists than turnovers on the year, which is quite impressive, considering the position change.
Coming out with one of the most impressive season-long performances for the Saints was GNAC Freshman of the Year Claire Dingus. Dingus was the only Saint to start every game of the season and led the team in scoring with 13.5 PPG and rebounds per game with 7.4. She also racked up a team-leading 92 free throws, with 14 of those coming in a 20-point performance against Western Washington. In the last 14 games of the season, Dingus scored in double figures from the floor, including tying her career high with 22 from the floor and collecting nine rebounds in the season finale against Western Oregon.
This is a team that will be returning most of their top scorers and rebounders, and will hope to gain some momentum this offseason in order to replace those who are leaving.
The Saints will lose three seniors in Rebekah Baugh, Emma Kennedy, and Mallory Kessler, all of whom have been loyal to the Saints for all four years. They have shown great dedication and leadership and will truly be missed by the team.