Winners All Around, Augsburg Womens Basketball is Poised to Succeed

Angie Leno, staff writer

Photo of womens basketball team in Si Melby Hall for Media Day, taken by Kevin Healy on Oct. 20

The Augsburg womens basketball team has started the season as winners. On Nov. 8, they took down Bethany Lutheran College 76-69 in Mankato, Minnesota. This win marks head coach Ted Riverso at 121 career wins with the Auggies. Riverso, the winningest head coach in Augsburg womens basketball history, isn’t new to leading teams to success by any stretch. In his career with Augsburg he has never had a record below 0.500 (not including the 2020-21 pandemic season), been named MIAC Coach of the Year twice and coached the first MIAC champion Auggie team in 2021-22 including Jen Massello, the only player in Augsburg program history to win MIAC womens basketball Player of the Year. In his 15 seasons as head coach of St. Thomas, he was named MIAC Coach of the Year seven times, coached five MIAC championship teams and one division three NCAA national championship team in 1991.

Beyond a stellar coach, the team has some amazing players. One to watch for the Auggies this season is senior forward Anja Smith, one of two returning players with previous MIAC conference honors. During the 2021-22 season, she was selected to the MIAC all-conference team and was named the MIAC sixth player of the year. During the 2022-23 season, she was selected as an MIAC honorable mention. In her 42 games as an Auggie, she has recorded 12 assists, 14 blocked shots, 52 steals, 248 rebounds and scored 652 points. Smith’s 377 points in the 2021-22 season was 11th most in school history for single-season scoring. She also set a school record for points scored in a game on Feb. 12, 2021 with 39 against College of St. Benedict. If Smith is able to score at least 119 more points this season, she will break the top-20 for all-time leading scorers in Augsburg womens basketball history. 

Another player to watch for the Auggies is senior guard and four-year-starter Kalena Myers. Myers is the other returning player with previous MIAC honors. She was selected as an MIAC honorable mention after the 2021-22 season. In her 59 game career with the Auggies, Myers has recorded six blocked shots, 117 assists, 141 steals, 165 rebounds and scored 581 points. If she is able to get four more steals on the season, Myers will break the top 20 for all-time leaders in steals in Augsburg womens basketball history.

You can cheer on the Auggies in their first home game on Nov. 29 in Si Melby Hall as they take on MIAC conference foe College of St. Scholastica, who the Auggies have beaten the Saints in all 12 of their last 12 matchups.