IPFW returned all but 16.9 of its 62.6 points per game last season, including its leading scorer and four of its top five scorers.
Amanda Hyde, Haley Seibert and Rachel and Stefanie Mauk made 175 three-pointers or 81 percent of the team total of 216.
Four members of the 2013-14 Mastodons played together in high school. Rachel and Stefanie Mauk played at Lima Bath. Hannah Lee and Haley Seibert played at Terre Haute South.
Of the four freshmen on the IPFW roster, three played high school ball in northeast Indiana: Arianna Simmons (South Side), Keanna Gary (Leo) and Rachel Rinehart (Angola).
IPFW plays three Big Ten schools (Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State) and four 2013 NCAA tournament teams (Purdue, Michigan State, Wichita State and South Dakota State).
4 games of interest
Nov. 12 vs. Indiana: The Hoosiers come north to Fort Wayne, the first of three games against Big Ten schools for the Mastodons.
Dec. 29 vs. Ball State: The Mastodons welcome another in-state rival to the Gates Center over the Christmas break.
Jan. 11 at South Dakota State: If IPFW is going to contend for the conference title, a road win against the defending conference champ and preseason favorite in the second Summit League game of the season would vault them right into the thick of it early. It’ll be the first meeting since South Dakota State whisked the Mastodons out of the Summit League tournament last March by 27 points.
Jan. 16 vs. Denver: First game against the conference newcomers – and another preseason favorite – comes five days after the visit to South Dakota State. Back-to-back wins would make it a big five days.
3 key players
Amanda Hyde, Sr., G/F: The reigning Summit League Player of the Year led the Mastodons in scoring (18.6 ppg), assists (3.1 apg), minutes played (1,094 or 36.5 per game) and steals (57). She was also second on the team in rebounding (4.9 rpg) and third in three-pointers (39).
Haley Seibert, Jr., G: Seibert was a sniper on the perimeter, shooting a team-high 37.1 percent from beyond the arc (46 of 124) and finishing third in scoring (9.5 ppg) and second behind Hyde in assists (2.9 apg) and (41) – and at 5-foot-5, was also the team’s fourth-leading rebounder (2.9 rpg)
Stefanie Mauk, Sr., G/F : At 5-10, Mauk was the team’s fourth-leading scorer (7.8 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.8 rpg) and three-point shooter (53). She also had 37 steals, third on the team.
2 points of concern
Rugged early road: Head coach Chris Paul believes in taking on all comers in the pre-conference schedule, and so the Mastodons will. They open on the road at a 2013 NCAA tournament team (Wichita State), return home to play Indiana, then play in the preseason NIT. After that it’s a whole lot of Southern Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue, Evansville, Detroit and Ball State before the conference season begins at North Dakota State on Jan. 9. The upside: If the Mastodons can survive, they’ll be better for it come conference time.
Clean that glass: Rebounding was an issue for the Mastodons last year. Opponents outrebounded them 35.8-29.7 per game. The addition of Simmons, a stellar inside player as a high-schooler, hopefully will alleviate some of that.
1 major issue
Defense: The Mastodons say they’re making the D the first letter in their alphabet, after opponents outshot them by six percentage points a year ago. That could lead to easier buckets in transition at the other end, which would help as well. IPFW shot just 39 percent last year and 10 times made less than 35 percent of their shots.