The Augustana women’s basketball team definitely will have a different look to it this season.
While coach Mark Beinborn’s Vikings will be considerably shorter in stature, they won’t be short on talent.
“The main impact is that we are not as tall,” said Beinborn, who lost his two rim protectors. “We’ll still play as fast, if not faster. Our press, instead of leaving things open for a 2-on-1 at the end, we’ll have people in back who can steal passes and turn that into offense quicker.”
With 6-foot-5 Kaycee Kallenberger (graduated) and 6-1 junior Carly McCameron (ankle/leg injury) not in the lineup this year, the Vikings still have high hopes for more success, building off last season’s 17-9 record. Augie was 10-6 in the CCIW and made it to the four-team CCIW Tournament for the first time since the inaugural event in 2003.
That success has the Vikings looking for more this season.
“The big goal for us is to win a CCIW championship,” said junior Izzy Anderson, a former Alleman standout and one of the motors on the team. “We made the tournament last year, which is definitely good for the program. There’s no reason we can’t take it further this year.”
That’s the mindset, even with just as many players lost from last season as there are returning. Augie is without four starters. It is also without McCameron, who had season-ending surgery on her injuries, and sharp-shooting guard Corrie Reiley, who transferred to St. Ambrose to jump into the nursing program.
The Vikings return one starter in Prophetstown’s Clare Kramer, along with Anderson and fellow junior Sadie Roberts (UTHS) and the team’s lone senior, Victoria Allen. To that, Beinborn adds former Rock Island standouts Justice Edell and Annika Anderson, among other strong newcomers.
“You know the depth that we played with last year, and we still have a lot of returning faces,” said Beinborn. “We have players that last year had to sit behind some of those who played and came back more than prepared to step out and make an impact. And, obviously we have some newcomers that are ready to make an impact.”
Optimism runs high on the Rock Island campus for this season. Still, the Vikings were picked a distant fifth by league coaches in the CCIW preseason poll. That doesn’t deter those on the club.
“In our conference, people always underestimate us,” said Allen. “I think the coaches in general like to write us off and think last year was just a one-year-wonder.”
The Vikings are out to prove otherwise.