WATERTOWN, Wis. --- The Sabercats' highs outweighed the lows in 2016-17. Although MBU finished the season with two losses, they ended the year by posting seven wins in their last 10 games, and an overall record of 9-3 in NCCAA divisional play while going a perfect 6-0 in regional play.
After winning the NCCAA North Region championship on their home floor with an exciting win over Trinity Bible (N.D.), the Sabercats returned to the NCCAA DII National Tournament for the 10th time in the past 11 years.
- Record: 16-13
- NCCAA DII Record: 9-3
- NCCAA Nationals Finish: 4th
- Final NCCAA DII Ranking: 4th
- NCCAA Scholar-Athletes: Maisy Alldredge, Emilee Hansel, Julie Roer, Alyssa Wright
- AD3I All-Independents: Hanna Glaze (1st Team), Alexis Johnson (2nd Team)
After beating Bob Jones University 63-59 in the opening game, the Sabercats were hard-pressed to beat the reigning national champions in Arlington Baptist, who eventually beat the Sabercats comfortably to advance to the championship game. In the third-place game, the Sabercats could not top the #3-seeded Randall University Saints, and saw their otherwise solid season end on a disappointing note.
Still, the Sabercats had many positives, and their record of 16-13 was the first time since the 2012-13 season that Maranatha has posted a winning season. The Sabercats did so amidst the inevitable setbacks that come with a collegiate season.
"[We had] adversities," said head coach Clayton Morrison. "Minor nagging injuries, and setbacks that hindered Katie Bender, Alexis Johnson, and Hanna Glaze at the National Tournament. With seven of our players also participating in fall sports keeping them out until the first week in December, it creates another dynamic which we must adjust to and work through."
En route to that 16-13 record, the Sabercats proved that they could get the result in a pressure-packed second half, as they posted clutch wins against Rockford (67-65, Dec. 13), Crown (66-64, Dec. 15), and Lincoln Christian (59-52, Feb. 18) in the regular season. MBU then proceeded to hang on down the stretch in the postseason with those wins against Trinity Bible (N.D.) and Bob Jones.
The lineup for MBU was diverse in terms of experience, as five freshman players joined the mix this year.
"We enjoyed the addition of a good group of Freshman players," said Morrison. "Several of which added immediately to our success. We had great leadership; Hanna Glaze, Emilee Hansel, and Alexis Johnson our captains, along with Julie Roer - a senior - brought maturity to our program this helped develop the positive spiritual tone we were able to enjoy and display both on and off the court.
"We will miss our Seniors - they have done a great job keeping MBU Women's Basketball at a [high] level both on and off the court. If we are going to see the tradition of success continue, present players must work hard to improve during the off season and incoming players must be ready spiritually and physically."
In terms of awards, the Sabercats landed four players on the NCCAA Scholar-Athlete team (Maisy Alldredge, Emilee Hansel, Julie Roer, Alyssa Wright). Hansel and Roer garnered the accolade for the second consecutive year.
Hanna Glaze was named an NCCAA First-Team All-America selection, becoming one of just five player in NCCAA Division II to achieve that status. Glaze was also named as a First-Team All-Independent selection in the Association of Division III Independents (AD3I), and was joined by Alexis Johnson, who was named to the second team.
In another seven months, Morrison and the Sabercats will begin preparations for the 2017-18 season. In the meantime, you can learn more about the team by visiting their team page: (click here).