Women’s Basketball Seniors Ready for Breakout Campaign; Freshmen Ready to Contribute

Nate Bope, Sports Writer

As the Wayne State College women’s basketball team is gearing up for the 2022 regular season, Head Coach Brent Pollari is in his fifth year in charge of the program.  

As he is surveying the talent on his roster, he clearly has a lot to work with. The Wildcats have a mix of experienced senior leaders and lots of young new talent to showcase. Among those senior leaders are two Wildcats in their last year of eligibility; Kassidy Pingel and Ashley Gustavson. 

“Kassidy has developed so much since she got to Wayne,” Pollari said. “She has put in the work and gotten better and more mature.” 

Pingel has averaged more minutes every year at WSC, averaging 27.1 minutes per game in seeing a big role change, as she started every game she played in last year. She averaged 7.1 points per game while shooting a career high 36.3 percent from the field. Pingel also added 5.2 rebounds per game. 

As for the other senior in her last year as a Wildcat, Ashley Gustavson has had more of a limited role during her time at WSC. A lot of that missed time is due to injuries earlier on in her career. 

“Ashley has brough a lot of energy to this program,” Pollari said. “She is one of our best vocal leaders when she’s on the court.” 

Two other seniors taking the court for the Wildcats this season are Lauren Zacharias and Logan Hughes. Zacharias had a great year for WSC last season, as she started every game. Averaging 30 minutes per game, she averaged 12 points per game, five rebounds per game and 2.8 assists per game.  

For Hughes, a former transfer from Missouri Western State, she also started every game last season. Averaging 22.1 minutes per game, she averaged 10.3 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game.  

“All the seniors do a great job of helping the freshmen learn,” Pollari said. “They get them in the right spots and get them doing the right things.” 

The Wildcats have five freshmen coming into this program: Rachel Dahlen, Meg Rietz, Kylah vanDonkersgoed, Emma Schweigart and Lily Fitzgerald. They all add an attribute WSC did not have last year; size, specifically height. All the newcomers stand at six foot or taller and can play forward or guard positions.  

“This is the closest group I think I’ve coached,” Pollari said. “We have a lot of high character people on this team. One of our mottos is we are a team of left tackles, meaning we have each other’s backs, and this group does a really good job of that.” 

The Wildcats tip-off their regular season Friday, Nov. 11, where they will host the Newman Jets. The game is set to start at 4 p.m. in Rice Auditorium.