Basketball Teams Lead in MIAC Leaderboards
Hayden Audette, contributor
The MIAC basketball season is nearly halfway through, and both the Auggie Mens and Womens basketball teams are currently occupying first place in the conference where they have been all season. Not only are they in first place but both teams are currently undefeated in conference play at the time of this article being written.
The women’s team has won 10 consecutive games since beginning MIAC play, and the men have started off their conference slate by winning their first nine games, which is their best start since winning their first 11 conference games in the 1979-80 season.
There are plenty of reasons for Augsburg Basketball’s unbeaten start to conference play, but both teams having multiple players on the MIAC statistical leaderboard is certainly one of the biggest factors. The star player for the Auggie men’s team all season long has been Joe Palmer, who leads the MIAC in both points and rebounds per game. His efforts last week earned him the MIAC player of the week award for the third time this year. Jack Sorenson also makes the top 5 in the 3 point percentage leaderboard, and he is joined by three other Auggies in the top 20 of that category.
On the women’s side, Anja Smith and Jen Masello are second and third in points per game, both averaging over 15. Smith and Masello also both make the top 5 in rebounds per game, and they each make the top 10 in field goal percentage. Smith was also named the MIAC player of the week last week, the third time this season that an Auggie women’s player has won the award.
Last Saturday, both Auggie Basketball teams hit the road to face one of their toughest tests all season, with the women taking on St. Benedict and the men taking on St. John’s. The women’s game saw the Auggies overcome an early first quarter deficit and ended up leaving St. Joseph with a one point victory. This is in large part thanks to Smith and Masello once again coming up big and scoring 33 of the Auggies’ 64 points. Later, the Auggie men found themselves in a tight one as well. Palmer led the team with 30 points and 10 rebounds, and Will Schmidt and Matt Carik also got into double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively. The Auggie men also hung on for a one point victory to claim first place in the MIAC.
The hot streaks for both Auggie basketball teams have led to them getting some attention from the national media. Although neither the men or women are currently ranked in D3hoops.com’s Top 25, they each received several votes in the Week 6 poll. After playing as well as they have all season long up to this point, it’s about time they get some of the credit they deserve.