North Adams, MA- The MCLA Women's Basketball program will seek a return to the postseason as they begin their 2019 campaign on Saturday. The Trailblazers will host Springfield College in the season opener for both programs at 5pm. MCLA is coming off a 6-18 season a year ago and missed out on the postseason.
The Trailblazers, under the direction of third year head coach Loren Stock, were selected to finish in 7th place in the conference's preseason poll. Stock returns six players who saw action in all 24 games last season along with seven newcomers. That experience could prove useful as MCLA attempts to improve upon a 1-10 record away from home last season.
Last season, the Trailblazers struggled at times to put the ball into the basket. They averaged just 56 points per game, but allow just 63 on average. MCLA will have to become more consistent offensively to have success in the 2018-19 season.
MCLA does return their top two scorers from last season in seniors Courtney Pingelski and Sam Gawron. Pingelski scored just under 12 ppg last season and is also the teams' leading returning rebounder at 6.5 a game. The sharp shooter connected on 36 triples last season, which also led the squad. She will be counted on once again to provide a scoring threat both inside and outside.
Right behind Pingelski was Gawron. The guard checked in at 9.9 ppg and 5.5 boards for the Trailblazers as a junior. She also was a threat from deep as she drilled 28 three point field goals for MCLA.
Joining those two in a key role will be senior point guard McKenzie Robinson. Last year, Robinson set a school record with 114 assists. She was third in the MASCAC at just under five helpers per game. Robinson was also a factor from beyond the arc as she made 28 three pointer's to help the offense.
Other players who saw significant minutes last season were L'Rae Brundige, Kylah Langston, and Erika Ryan. All three should continue to play an integral role within Coach Stock's system. All three players averaged about 5 ppg and could see their productivity increase this season.
The schedule is a difficult one for MCLA this year. MCLA welcomes some solid non-conference games including seven of their first ten games at the Amsler Campus Center Gym. After the opener with Springfield comes a pair of road games against Cobleskill and Keene State. From there, MCLA will play six of their next 7 contests at home. Mount Holyoke and Middlebury open the home-stand before the lone road trip to Utica to close out November.
MCLA then will be tested as cross town foe Williams challenges the Trailblazers on December 4th. The Trailblazers close out semester play with home tilts against Western New England and Union (NY). A non-league matchup at home with SVC closes the home-stand on January 2nd before MASCAC play begins just three days later.
The MASCAC schedule opens against defending champion Westfield State on the 5th. The Trailblazers filter in a pair of non-league games against Trinity (CT) and Curry in between the conference schedule.
The MASCAC tournament is slated to begin on Tuesday, February 19th. The top six teams in the conference qualify for the postseason.