Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

SEASON PREVIEW: Expectations high for No. 22 Wolverines

SEASON PREVIEW: Expectations high for No. 22 Wolverines

DEARBORN, Mich. – The University of Michigan-Dearborn women's basketball team is coming off the most successful season in the more than 40-year history of the program and the Wolverines have their eyes set on higher goals in 2019-20.

The Wolverines won a program-record 24 games in 2018-19, eclipsing the previous high by eight games while earning the first national ranking for UM-Dearborn in women's basketball. The Wolverines also hosted a postseason game for the first time since joining the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.

UM-Dearborn closed the season with a loss in the WHAC opening round to Rochester College and an overall record of 24-7.

Fourth-year head coach Jordan Sweeney returns much of the core from last year's team, including All-WHAC First Team honorees Ro'Zhane Wells and Sade Lemons.

"A lot has changed in a year and expectations are quite a bit higher because of the success that last year's team had," Sweeney said. "You really saw the mentality change with how players attacked the offseason and improved their games." 

UM-Dearborn was picked to finish second in the WHAC by the league's coaches, while also earning the No. 22 ranking in the NAIA DII Preseason Top-25 Coaches' Poll released earlier this week.

Wells, a junior, was named the UM-Dearborn Female Athlete of the Year in April, the first student-athlete from her team to receive the honor. She closed her first season with the Wolverines second on the team in scoring with 10.9 points per game, while adding 3.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. She was also named to the WHAC All-Defensive Team.

Lemons led the team in scoring a year ago and will look to lead the Wolverines to more success in her senior season. She averaged 13.8 points per game while making 37 percent of her 3-point shots, hitting a team-high 75 field goals from behind the arc.

Other returners that will factor heavily to the team's success include, senior Laekyn Jaciuk, along with juniors Cydney Williams, Lauryn Carroll and Kayla Knight, while eight new faces all have a chance to make an immediate impact for UM-Dearborn.

"Our expectation is for us to compete every day with ourselves and teammates to get better," Sweeney said of his expectations. "The goal is to compete for a conference championship and get a bid to the national tournament." 

The schedule will provide early tests for the Wolverines, including the opener against Xavier University-Louisiana at 7 pm Wednesday on the campus of Lawrence Tech in Southfield, Mich.

XULA enters the season receiving votes in the NAIA DI national poll.

The home opener is against Wright State-Lake Campus on Nov. 1, while three straight nonconference road tests will challenge the Wolverines in mid-November. The WHAC season opens against National-Tournament qualifier Aquinas College (RV) on Nov. 20 at home, while the first matchup with the defending league champion Indiana Tech Warriors is Jan. 15 on the road with a return contest set for Feb. 19. The Warriors enter the season ranked No. 4 in DII.

Senior Day against the University of Northwestern Ohio is scheduled for Feb. 15 at the UM-Dearborn Fieldhouse.

By Nick McCutcheon, UM-Dearborn Sports Information Director