The Golden Eagles get their season underway with the first practice of the year.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s basketball team will commence the 2017-18 season Sun., Oct. 15 as they open practice at 11 a.m.   

    The Golden Eagles are looking to continue to build on the program’s success of the last three seasons as they have made it to three-consecutive NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament quarterfinals at the Sanford Pentagon. Minnesota Crookston struggled at points during the 2016-17 regular season, but had a big 77-73 win over Concordia University-St. Paul in the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament to continue their string of appearances in Sioux Falls.   

    Minnesota Crookston enters their 12th season with Mike Roysland leading the ship for Minnesota Crookston during the 2017-18 season. He reached the 100-win milestone last season, becoming the first coach at U of M Crookston to do so in the NCAA Division II era. Roysland has helped 16 players to All-NSIC awards in his time in the Maroon and Gold.   

    The Golden Eagles return four starters from a season ago with upperclassmen Emily Gruber (Sr., F/C, Monticello, Minn.), Isieoma Odor (R-Jr., F/C, Bloomington, Minn.), Micaela Noga (Sr., G, Parkers Prairie, Minn.) and Caitlin Michaelis (Jr., G, Marshfield, Wis.) all returning to the fray. Odor leads the way for the returnees after averaging 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while Noga tallied 10.1 points per game. Gruber notched 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest as a junior, while Michaelis notched 5.1 points per game and shot 32.4 percent from beyond the arc.   

    In addition, the Golden Eagles return four more letter winners with Stephanie McWilliams (So., G, Grand Forks, N.D.), Paige Weakley (So., G/F, Kearney, Mo.), Lindsey Weber (Jr., F, Delafield, Wis.) and Amber Schoenicke (So., F/C, Marshall, Wis.) all back from last season. McWilliams saw starting time last season in eight games, proving to be a key energy player for the Golden Eagles. Weakley, Weber and Schoenicke were all contributors off the bench and will contend for playing time this season.   

    In addition, Minnesota Crookston added four newcomers to the roster for the 2017-18 slate. Kasey Harper (Fr., G, Mesa, Ariz.), Ashley Freund (Fr., F, Jordan, Minn.), Abby Guidinger (Fr., G, Waukesha, Wis.) and Maria Delgado (Jr., G, London, England) will all battle for playing time for Minnesota Crookston.   

    Minnesota Crookston returns their entire staff from last season with Nate Mahlen returning for his 11th season as an assistant coach and Bryant Friskop returning for his third season. Kamille (Wahlin) Meyer will help out for her fifth season, while also serving as the program’s Assistant Athletic Director.   

    The Golden Eagles open competitive play Nov. 2 with a home exhibition against Concordia College Moorhead at 6 p.m. They will also play an exhibition at University of North Dakota Nov. 8 before opening regular-season play at home versus Michigan Tech University at 6 p.m. Nov. 17.