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College basketball preview: Indiana Tech women’s breakdown

5 facts

• Indiana Tech returns seven seniors and eight players who saw time in at least 22 games for the 13-18 Warriors. Forward Kaneisha Bass is the lone loss.

• Both of Indiana Tech’s starting guards – Rachael Kruse and Ulyssia Richmond – were first-team All-Wolverine-Hoosier Collegiate Athletic Conference first team selections last year.

• There are two players on the Warriors roster from California (Rayana Villalpando and Jessica Silva), one from Maryland (Richmond) and one from Latvia (Sabine Filippovica).

• Forward Taylor Carver, a Woodlan graduate, played in eight games for Mid-American Conference champion Toledo as a redshirt freshman last year.

• Four Tech players played their high school ball in Allen County: Kruse (Homestead), Carver (Woodlan), Preonda Reese (Northrop) and Onnie Jordan (Harding).

4 games of interest

Nov. 2 at Saint Francis: It’s always a battle between the crosstown NAIA rivals.

Nov. 16 vs. Madonna: The Warriors handed Madonna its only home loss of the season last year. It’s also the conference opener for the Warriors.

Dec. 11 at IPFW: Though it’s only an exhibition, this is a rare opportunity for the Warriors to measure themselves against a Division I opponent.

Jan. 11 vs. Davenport: The preseason conference favorite comes to Fort Wayne. The Warriors lost to Davenport by 27 and 38 points in two meetings last year.

3 key players

Rachael Kruse, Sr., G: In her first season as a starter, Kruse led Tech in scoring with 17 points per game and was second in rebounding (5.1 rpg) and assists (101). She also was second in three-pointers with 51, blocked 16 shots and led the team in steals with 48.

Ulyssia Richmond, Sr., G: Richmond led the Warriors in threes with 61 and was second in scoring (15.9 ppg). She also led the team in free throw percentage, hitting 81.9 percent.

Chelsea Carradine, Sr., C: Carradine averaged 11.6 points and 6.9 rebounds last year while starting 22 games at center.

2 points of concern

Dee-fense: Both Kruse and head coach Jessie Biggs cite improved defense as a notable strength compared to last year, at least on paper. Opponents averaged 73.8 points and shot 43 percent against the Warriors last season and outrebounded them 433-393 on the offensive end.

Who’s your point guard? The Warriors enter the season with either an embarrassment of riches or too much of a good thing at point, with three players in the mix. Rayana Villalpando started 24 games as a freshman last season; Preonda Reese started the last six games; and newcomer Jessica Silva comes in after averaging 15.8 points and 2.9 steals as the Central California Conference MVP.

1 major issue

Consistency: Biggs says the team’s biggest problem last year was not showing up game-in and game-out. “We have to show up for every game, not just the big games,” she says. That should improve given the depth of talent and experience Tech returns, but until it happens, it hasn’t happened.

– Ben Smith, The Journal Gazette