Year and in a year out, Frontier Conference women’s basketball is arguably the premier conference in all of the NAIA.
The Frontier is loaded with good teams and very good players at both the guard and post position, and the 2011 season will be no different. Already, Lewis-Clark State and Westminster are ranked in the Top 10 nationally, and Carroll College, Montana Tech and MSU-Northern look to have deep and talented teams as well.
And when talking about Frontier teams, it isn’t just the teams that are good. On any given night, anywhere in the Frontier, fans can see some very good players, making exciting and spectacular plays, and when all of the Frontier teams come to Havre over the next month, Northern fans will see plenty of great players.
Of course, the Skylights have them too. Senior guards Samm Schermele and Taylor Keller are two of the best guards in the league, although Keller is out for some time with a knee injury. Still, Schermele is averaging almost 17 points per game in her senior season, while Keller was scoring 17 points per outing before she went down with an injury two weeks ago.
Here’s a look at even more players to watch this season in the Frontier Conference
Westminster College graduated a three-guard set two years ago that turned out to be one of the most productive groups in the Frontier and that trio was the reason the Griffins became a Frontier and NAIA power. Now, the Griffins have simply reloaded and they employ even more great guards this season. Sophomore point guard Nicole Yazzie (5-7), sophomore swing guard Allie Eastman (5-10) and senior guard Dani Evans (5-9) combine to average almost 27 points and 13 assists per game and all three are excellent outside shooters. The trio also has plenty of speed, making the Griffins a dangerous up-tempo team on both ends of the floor.
Montana Tech also has a pair of guards who certainly can get things done. Senior Taesha Higbee (5-9) is a silky smooth guard who can shoot, but her size and ability to drive to the basket makes her an even bigger scoring threat. And Higbee is helped by the emergence of sophomore guard Brooke Pokorny. The former Butte Central standout is having an excellent season, averaging almost 14 points per game, and she shoots better than 40 percent from the 3-point-line.
Things are also good at the guard position in Helena, especially with junior sharp shooter Alysha Green. Green stands 5-7 and at times runs the point for the Saints, but her job is to shoot, and perhaps no one has a better outside shot in the league. Green also has help from Alex Dunn and true freshman Jessica VanDyke. The former Chester/J-I star is having a breakout freshman season for Carroll. UM-Western senior Nicole Tams (5-9) and UGF junior Kezia Ford (5-9) are two more players to keep an eye on this season.
The Frontier has always been a league dominated by post players when it comes to women’s basketball, and nowhere is that more true than at LC State. The third-ranked Warriors are loaded in the paint this season, as they are seemingly every year. It starts with 6-0 junior Jasmine Stohr, the Frontier’s leading scorer. Stohr is a dual threat, as she is an excellent back-to-the-basket player, but she can also step out and shoot from long range, and she’s showing it by averaging 21 points per game through non-league play. Stohr also has plenty of friends in the post. Junior Kiri Voshell (6-3) and junior Alyssa Fierro (6-2) are both standout players in their own right and give the Warriors perhaps the biggest front line in all of NAIA women’s basketball.
LC State isn’t the only school in the league that will dominate in the paint this season however. UM-Western center Chloe Mosey (6-1) is another excellent inside-out player, and UGF senior Marissa Skogen (6-0) is perhaps the most athletic player in the Frontier, and another dual-threat post. Then there’s Adrienne Green at Rocky Mountain College. The 6-3 Green is a dominating presence in the middle and she anchors a Bears’ front line that averages 6-1 across the board. Westminster also has a star in 6-0 forward Michelle Pace while former Carroll College standout Hayley Pettit will now bolster Western’s front line.