Despite injuries, Schwenke is having a huge senior campaign. She has positioned herself as one of the elite guards in the Frontier and is averaging 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game. She’s scored 20 points or more four times this season and is shooting a career-best 46 percent from the 3-point-line. Schwenke also has a new backcourt mate in junior transfer Nikki Tresch. The 5-5 Tresch leads the Skylights in scoring at 16 points per game while shooting 47 percent from three. Tresch is a shooter who can make a bunch when she gets rolling and her presence has helped push the Skylights back to the head of the Frontier.
Here’s a look at the top guards around the rest of the Frontier Conference.
There really isn’t a team in the league that doesn’t have a solid backcourt this season, but Westminster has perhaps the deepest and most talented. The Griffins return four starting guards led by 5-7 junior Nicole Yazzie. Yazzie averages 12 points per game and is catalyst for the high-octane Griffins. She’s also started since her freshman season. Also back for Westminster is 5-9, senior Dana Bates, 5-7, senior Jenteal Jackson and 5-9 junior Allie Eastmann. The trio averages 30 points per game for the Griffins and all of them earned postseason honors a year ago.
While Northern and Westminster might have the deepest perimeter teams, the undisputed top guard in the Frontier resides at Lewis-Clark State. Jasmine Stohr, a 6-0 senior is the reigning Frontier Player of the Year and a two-time NAIA All-American. She’s an outstanding shooter and passer and her size allows her to play in the post, as well making her a matchup nightmare for the opposition. Stohr is a bona fide NAIA Player of the Year candidate this season, averaging 21 points and five rebounds per game for the nationally-ranked Warriors.
As good as Stohr is, Carroll College’s Alysha Green isn’t far behind. Green is a three-year starter and two-time all-conference standout. She can run the point for the Saints, but is also lights out from three. Green averages 14 points and shoots 46 percent from beyond the arc this season. Carroll’s backcourt also got a lift with the return of Tori Cahill. Cahill missed last season with an injury but she’s having an immediate impact for the Saints this season. Cahill averages nine points and four assists per game and her presence frees up even more open shots for Green.
UM-Western has a great one too. The Bulldogs are led by 5-10 sophomore Sammi Bignell, who was an all-conference performer as a freshman. Bignell is pouring in a team-high 15 points while grabbing five rebounds per game, while senior teammate Nicole Tams averages 11 points per game and is a top-notch 3-point shooter.
Rocky Mountain College gets outstanding backcourt play from the duo of Austin Hancer (5-8, So.) and Mickey Scally (5-8, Sr.). Like Bignell, Hancer earned all-conference honors as a freshman, and together, she and Scally average 27 points per game this season.
UGF has shown some depth at guard too. Senior Kezia Ford (5-9) and sophomore Sara Sciascia (5-9) were constants for the Argos a year ago, but the emergence of freshman Sydnee Burke (5-5) has made the Argos more dangerous on the perimeter.
Rounding out the top guards in the Frontier is another freshman, Montana Tech’s Mandi Machinal. The 5-7 guard has exploded onto the Frontier scene this season, averaging over 15 points per game and shooting better than 45 percent from three.
Note: For a team-by-team breakdown of the Frontier Conference women, see Thursday’s Havre Daily News.