Basketball takes center stage

By John Kipper, Staff Writer

Both men’s and women’s basketball kicked off their seasons earlier this week with the men playing at home against Northland College while the women opened at Wisconsin-Superior.   For the women’s team, there was a sense of unfinished business after last year’s disappointing playoff loss to Bethel. This year’s team returns its young core, most notably Tamira McLemore. McLemore started in all 26 games last season, leading then Augsburg College in scoring, dropping 14 a game. In addition to being a scorer, McLemore led the team in assists (3.3/ game) and steals (2.5/ game). She was named a captain for this season, along with senior Bridget Bednar and junior Carlee Korbow.   

Corbow and Bednar are the only upperclassman players with all other members of the team being freshmen or sophomores. Other key sophomores to pay attention to are K’Aezha Wubben and Aiza Wilson. They were both starters last year and with a year of experience should be even more efficient. With any young team, there is a learning curve as players adjust to the pace and physicality of college athletics. But they started last season red-hot by winning seven of their first ten games with six of those victories having a margin of 20 points or more. Hopefully, the Auggies can translate more early season success into dominant conference play.   

The men’s team is anchored by two time all-MIAC senior forward Collin Olmscheid. Last season, Olmscheid led the Auggies in scoring per game (19.6), rebounds per game (7.6), blocks

(8) and free throws (attempted 110, shot 82%). He was given the “Hard Hat” award at last year’s banquet in recognition of his work ethic. Surpassing the 1,000-point mark last season, Olmscheid is currently ranked tenth in career points at Augsburg.    

On the perimeter, look for junior Kevin McKieran to be the primary three-point threat. He’s a capable two-way player, and he finished third on the team in assists and a high motor made him second on the team in rebounding. This was the result of the extra effort that led him to be nominated as the most improved player from last year’s team. The Auggies were .500 in conference play last year with an overall record of 12-14. A big difference this year should be bench depth with Augsburg graduating only two seniors from last year’s team. Many of the losses from last season were within 10 points, so the improvements will hopefully show with more of the close games falling their way.

This article first appeared in the Friday, November 17, 2017, Edition of The Echo.