Nicholas Sarysz, Staff Writer
The Saint Martin’s University Men’s Basketball Team is coming off a historic season. Not only did the team win regular season Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) play, but they peaked at number eight in the nation’s NCAA Division II media polls and made the school’s first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. The women’s basketball team found less success in their last season, only winning seven of their 28 games, and finished 10th in the conference. Despite this, the women’s season showed plenty of promise for the future.
Led by the 2018/2019 GNAC Freshman of the Year Claire Dingus, the women’s team has nine players returning this year. Dingus led the team in points and rebounds last year, averaging 13.5 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. Also coming off a notable season is backcourt senior Makenna Schultz. The All-Conference guard finished last season with 11.8 points per game and a team-high 94 assists. Led by the two distinguished players, the team looks to make a major leap in the GNAC standings this year. Their preseason tips off on Nov. 6 at Seattle University, and conference play will begin on Dec. 5 at Northwest Nazarene.
Contrary to the women’s basketball team, the Saints’ men welcomed many new faces this offseason. The roster consists of just three returning players from last year. Although the returning players came off the bench for the Saints in their previous season, they will likely serve as key components to the team this year. Also new to the team is Head Coach Aaron Landon. After six seasons at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), he became the winningest head coach in program history with 102 games won.
“[Coach Landon’s] teams are known for playing hard and working together and being aggressive offensively which will make for an exciting brand of basketball at SMU,” Athletic Director Bob Grisham stated.
“He is respected among his peers and more importantly, by the student athletes he has coached and mentored. We can’t wait to see him lead the future of Saints’ basketball!”
Also coming to Saint Martin’s from SPSCC is Guard DeMonte Malloy. Last season with the Clippers, Malloy averaged 16.9 points per game, along with 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game. Malloy consistently proved himself as a shooting threat on all areas of the court, earning a field goal percentage of 51.3 and shot 40.3 from the three-point line last season. Another promising player for the Saints is freshman Alec Schumacher, who averaged 19.3 points per game during his senior year at Skyview High School, according to MaxPreps.com. The men’s preseason began on Oct. 22 at Seattle University, and conference play will also commence on Dec. 5 at Northwest Nazarene.
The Saint Martin’s Men’s Basketball Team revolves around a young group of new players as they rebuild after last year’s success. On the other hand, the women’s basketball team is looking to rebound from last season with their returning stars. All in all, the upcoming season looks to be promising for each of the teams.