WATERTOWN, Wis. -- After a 4th-place finish at last year's national tournament, Coach Clayton Morrison and the Sabercats will by vying for bigger and better things this season.
2016-17 yielded a memorable postseason run for MBU, as the Sabercats capitalized on hosting the NCCAA North Region Tournament. After an 83-26 thrashing of Moody Bible Institute in the semifinal, the #2-seeded Sabercats upset the #1-ranked Trinity Bible College Lions in a thrilling championship game.
In that championship, the Sabercats showed determination and composure down the stretch to seal both the 58-53 win and the ticket to Nationals.
At the National Tournament, the Sabercats knocked off Bob Jones University before falling to the #1-seeded Arlington Baptist Patriots, who went on to claim their third consecutive NCCAA DII title. In the game for 3rd-place, the Sabercats fell to #3 Randall University to finish 4th - 1 spot better than their tournament seed.
COACH MO: 25th-YEAR PERSPECTIVE
This program has had proven success: 3 national titles, 18 regional titles, and 18 national tournament appearances. This will be the 25th season at the helm for "Coach Mo," who will look to mark his silver-anniversary season by adding more silverware to the program's collection.
Coach Mo approaches his 25th year with "cautious optimism," as his first full-team practice comes just 3 days before the first game.
"With November 27th the first full practice, and only 3 days of practice prior to our first game, we have a long way to go," said Morrison. "My goals for the team center around coming to practice with a determination and focus to do what it takes to put the best product we can on the court.
"We will miss the seniors who played major roles for us during last season," Morrison continued. "This year's team will be led by captains Alexis Bueltel and Maisy Alldredge. If we can put the best interest of the team over individual desires we have a chance to see some on-court success."
|First Game...................................||11/30 - 7 p.m. vs Mount Mary|
|2017-18 Home Games...................||8|
|2017-18 NCCAA Games.................||9|
|2016-17 Overall NCCAA Record.......||11-7|
The Sabercats will tangle with 3 of their NCCAA North Region opponents during the regular season: Faith Baptist (Dec. 2), North Central (Jan. 4), and Emmaus Bible (Jan. 23, 26). Other NCCAA schools that the Sabercats will face include Lincoln Christian (DI, Jan. 18 and Feb. 6), Grace Bible (Jan. 19 and Feb. 8), and Great Lakes Christian (Feb. 10).
The Sabercats enter the season as the favorite to win the NCCAA North Region Tournament, as they have won 9 of their last 10 regional tournaments.
Seven teams are eligible to compete in the tournament, which will be held at Faith Baptist Bible College Feb. 22-24:
|Emmaus Bible||Dubuque, Iowa|
|Faith Baptist||Ankeny, Iowa|
|Maranatha Baptist||Watertown, Wis.|
|Oak Hills Christian||Bemidji, Minn.|
|Trinity Bible||Ellendale, N.D.|
Of the 13 players that are rostered, 7 are returners. Alexis Bueltel will be a primary threat on offense, as she recorded a career-best 335 points last season. Another similar season and Bueltel will pass the 1,000 points mark as a senior. Last season, Bueltel finished in the AD3I Top 10 for points, steals, offensive rebounds, and field-goal percentage.
Joining Bueltel for a fourth season will be Katie Bender, who will return to the point position. Over 3 seasons, Bender has made 36 starts while contributing 339 points, 224 boards, and 87 assists.
Next to Bueltel will be her sisters, Karley and Kelsey Johnson. The duo combined for almost 300 points last season and were consistent fixtures in the starting 5.
"We certainly have the potential to win some games," said Morrison. "However, we also know that potential doesn't get the job done! As a team, we individually and collectively are going to make the commitment to be the best we can be."
It all begins Thursday night when the Sabercats host Mount Mary University at 7 p.m.
All home games will be live streamed on YouTube and to Facebook. Live statistics will be available for each home game at mbusabercats.com/composite.