Entering tonight's season opener against Jamestown College, the Minot State University women's basketball team has Carly Boag, Sacarra Molina and a bunch of unknowns.
All five starters from last season are still on the roster, but forwards Katie Hardy and Christina Boag are redshirting this season while rehabilitating injuries. Senior guard Lauren Safranski, a two-year starter, is serving the last of a three-game suspension, athletic director Rick Hedberg said.
Safranski, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on Oct. 28, also sat out exhibition games against Montana and Montana State. Her pretrial conference is scheduled for January 16.
Minot State University then-sophomore guard Carly Boag prepares to go up for a shot in a game last season. MSU opens the season against Jamestown College tonight at 7 p.m.
"It's a violation of team rules and that's our stance," Hedberg said. "We'll handle all those on a case-by-case basis. She's serving a three-game suspension."
Sophomore guard Morgan Klose, often the first player off the bench last season, will sit out tonight with a sprained ankle, MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said.
Aside from Carly Boag, Molina and seldom-used senior guard Janelle Wong, the Beavers will rely on six freshmen, a junior-college transfer, and an NCAA Division II transfer.
"Sacarra and I do have to be leaders and show everybody how to play as a team and step up and win," said Carly Boag, who led the Beavers with 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season.
Green Gerding said Jamestown, ranked No. 11 in NAIA Division II, will be a good test for her largely unproven squad.
"Right now, I'm pretty concerned about that game," she said. "I think Jamestown's a good team, and we don't know who we really are yet."
The Jimmies (5-1) return their top two scorers from last season - junior point guard Hannah Steele and senior center Bridget Schuneman.
MSU played arguably its best game of last season against Jamestown, defeating the Jimmies 96-74 in December at the MSU Dome. Molina, a senior who switched from point guard to shooting guard this year, expects another fast-paced affair.
"They like to get up and down," she said. "And we're a quick team, but we're hoping to get more stops and try to control their scoring. I expect it to be a higher-scoring game, hopefully more so for us than them."
Green Gerding said Molina and Carly Boag have been the Beavers' two most consistent practice players. She also expects senior wing player Francesca DeAngelis to be a key producer once she gets back into game-playing mode. DeAngelis sat out last season after transferring from Alaska-Anchorage.
The rest of the team's pieces will begin to be revealed after tipoff tonight at 7 at the MSU Dome. Most of MSU's players will be competing in their first regular-season college games.
"I think if we put it together, I think we can be pretty good," Green Gerding said. "We're excited to get started because right now we don't really know what we have."