Eleanore Mueller tries to stay in front of a St. Norbert ball-handler.
Eleanore Mueller tries to stay in front of a St. Norbert ball-handler.

    This year’s Ripon College Red Hawk women’s basketball team’s senior class has gone through a lot.

   As freshmen, it was on a team that went a program-worst 2-21.

   It then rebounded to make the Midwest Conference Tournament the last two seasons — which included going 15-3 in conference last year — only to lose both times in the semifinals to St. Norbert.

   Members of the class are hoping to take the next step this season and finish their collegiate careers with a conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament berth.

   “The team would like to be better than last year’s team: more consistent defensively as well as more sure with the basketball,” Ripon head coach Lauren Johnson said. “The team has sights set on being the best defensive team and rebounding team in the league. We weren’t consistent in our semifinal game against St. Norbert in regards to defending the rim and that has been a focus ... so far this season.”

   Ripon will began that journey Friday and Saturday at the Webster University Tournament in St. Louis, Mo., where it will play Marian and Webster University.

   Johnson noted the seniors have excelled in leading by example.

   “Our seniors are doing a good job of setting the example for work ethic and energy for our underclassman,” the head coach said.

   That senior leadership and experience she believes is one of the Red Hawks’ main strengths heading into the 2017-18 season.

Read the full story, which includes information about some of the returning players, in this week's edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.