PSU Women’s Basketball Preview

The Portland State women’s basketball team is determined to dominate this season with five newcomers joining their squad and a jam-packed schedule including 16 regular season home games.
When asked how she thinks the newcomers are adjusting to the team so far, Head Coach Sherri Murrell said, “There are four freshmen and one volleyball player joining us. The freshmen are adjusting very quickly with such a seasoned upper class helping them along. They are working hard each day and that’s what I like to see first. [Senior Cara Olden] will join us after her championship season. It will take some time for her but I think she will instantly add intensity and athleticism to our team.”
The Vikings are scheduled to host 16 regular-season games, which is tied for having the most home game competitions since the 1993-94 season when Portland State went undefeated at home with a record of 17-0.
“I lined up the toughest exhibitions possible. These teams are good,” Coach Murrell said. “It will hopefully show us what we need to work on and get better at. It will be a good test for us.”
The Vikings hope to earn a spot at the Big Sky Conference tournament after finishing 12-17 overall and 6-14 in conference last year, missing the tournament for the second straight season. Returning to the team healthy and ready to compete are starting point guard Kate Lanz, and starting forward Angela Misa. Both seniors had season-ending injuries last year but are making a comeback. Coach Murrell commented on her team’s overall performance last year and what they are striving to do for the upcoming season, “I was not satisfied and neither was the team. We went through a lot losing Kate and then Angela amongst the other injuries, but we could have competed much better.”
She adds, “I can tell already this year’s team will be tougher; their chemistry is better. My expectations for this year is [for us] to grow each day, each practice, each game. Come conference – we want to compete and get to the tournament for a chance to dance once again.”
Although her season ended early last year, Portland State forward Misa is a great competitor. She was named Big Sky Newcomer of the Year with an average of 10.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. With those numbers, she became the first Viking since the 2003-04 season to average a double-double, and also was the first Viking to post 20 or more rebounds in a game since 1981.
Another player people should look out for in the upcoming season is point guard Lanz. Even though her season was cut short last year due to a knee injury and she was only able to compete in 10 games, she is still a contender for big things this season. She was named Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2011-12, and in her 37 game career she has averaged 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. She became the fourth-fastest Viking to score over 500 career points.
The Vikings are scheduled to play against Saint Mary’s, which is a team they have never faced before, but the team is pumped up for the beginning of the season. “The team is excited to play in front of their friends and family” coach Murrell said.
When asked what she thinks her team needs to improve on this season Murrell said, “We need to play tough defense. We need to disrupt teams with our pressure.” What is the number one quality she looks for in an athlete? “An undeniable will to win.”
The Vikings regular season opener is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 against Saint Mary’s at the Peter Stott Center.