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Originally published in The Morning Sun

They’re doing it again.

The unbelievable and unthinkable as if it were the norm.

Thing is it’s not the norm, not even close to it.

Since starting the Mid Michigan College women’s basketball program back in 2014 head coach Matt Rodenbo has done an unbelievable job. For instance, since taking over the helm he’s led the Lakers to a record of 120-25 and led them to a fifth-place showing nationally a couple years back.

So far in 2019 Rodenbo and the Lakers are a perfect 9-0 and ranked 14th nationally heading in Thursday’s home game from Morey Courts versus Concordia University’s JV team. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m.

Thursday’s game will be the final game of 2019 for Rodenbo and company as they take off a couple weeks to celebrate the holidays before returning to action on Jan. 4 at Muskegon.

To date the Lakers have been getting it done via the usual means, meaning they are playing great defense and hitting at a high-percentage on the offensive side of the floor. The Lakers ranked 36th nationally in scoring offense (74.6 ppg), 34th in field-goal percentage (41 percent), 14th in three-point field-goal percentage (35 percent) and eighth in three-pointers made per game (8.4).

Defensively, they rank 21st in points allowed (54 ppg), 10th in opponent’s field-goal percentage (31 percent) and 10th in opponent’s three-point field-goal percentage (21 percent).

Having covered Rodenbo’s teams at both the prep and collegiate levels his teams have always played exceptional defense and been rock-solid from both the inside and outside offensively.

This season is no different.

“We like to play at both ends, press you full-court and then get it and go offensively,” said Rodenbo, who led the Lakers to a record of 25-5 last season. “This season we’re leaning heavily on our experience because we have five or six kids who played a lot of minutes last season.”

Earlier this week the Lakers were picked as the favorites to win the MCCAA conference crown, yet Rodenbo isn’t buying into it because there’s still a lot of season to go and championships aren’t handed out via prognostication. Rather, they are earned.

At this point in the season Rodenbo’s main concern is getting his team healthy and giving it a much-deserved break for the holidays.

“We’ve been working out since school started and I’m proud of the way we have been grinding,” said Rodenbo. “We’re very determined and very resilient, but we can get better in all facets of the game. We’ve been playing since Nov. 2 and Christmas break is a great opportunity to get some rest.”

The break should be great for Allison Hoek (12.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) as she’s dealing with a shoulder injury. Moreover, it will offer the remainder of the roster a much-needed respite.

On paper sophomore guard Savannah Peplinski leads the way with 17 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Fellow sophomore guard Amelia McNutt also averages 16.1 points and 3.2 steals per game while sophomore forward Steffi Kracko averages 11 points and 5.7 boards per game.

 
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