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SEASON PREVIEW: SVSU Women open 2021-22 with Hillsdale at home on Friday

SEASON PREVIEW: SVSU Women open 2021-22 with Hillsdale at home on Friday

UNIVERSITY CENTER – The Saginaw Valley State University women's basketball team opens the 2021-22 season against Hillsdale College at 5 PM Friday at the James E. O'Neill Jr. Arena.

The Cardinals return to action in front of fans after last season saw SVSU show a glimpse of the program's potential under third-year Head Coach Jenny Pruett. SVSU finished the 2020-21 season with an even record of 10-10 overall. 

The Cardinals entered the 2021 GLIAC Postseason Tournament winning five of six games. SVSU topped Wayne State University in the quarterfinals before dropping a close matchup against No. 1 seed Michigan Tech 78-74 in the semifinals.

SVSU returns nearly its entire roster from a year ago and added some new pieces as the team looks to take the next step towards the top of the GLIAC.

Top Returners:

  • Kaitlyn Zarycki – Junior – Guard: Named to the All-GLIAC First Team and Defensive Team last season. Averaged 14 points and nearly two steals per game. Was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 2019-20.
  • Maddie Maloney – Senior – Point Guard: Named to the All-GLIAC Second Team last season after starting all 20 games, averaging 11.6 points and 3.8 assists per game.
  • Tori DePerry – Junior – Forward: Played in all 20 games last season, averaging 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and one steal per game.
  • Maddie Barrie – Senior – Guard: Averaged 9.6 points per game and hit 35 total 3-pointers. Played in all 20 games for the Cardinals.

Key Newcomers:

  • Saniaa Walker – Freshman – Guard: Named to the All-Conference First Team in 2021 at Flint Kearsley High School. Honorable Mention Player of the Year.
  • Rachel Rustad – Freshman – Guard: Named AP All-State Honorable Mention, Lansing State Journal Dream Team, Class A All-Area, and First Team All-Conference.

Schedule at the Glance:

After opening the 2021-20 season on Friday against Hillsdale, SVSU will host the University on Findlay at 1 pm on Saturday. The Cardinals will then hit the road for six of their next seven games, including a trip to Drury University for a pair of games Nov. 23-24 in Springfield, Mo.

The Cardinals open the GLIAC on the road at Grand Valley State University at 6 pm on Dec. 2, while the home portion of the conference schedule tips off with rival Northwood University at 6 pm on Dec. 9.

The Cardinals play a nonconference home game to open the new calendar year on the road at Lake Superior State University on Jan. 6 and return over for a matchup with Northern Michigan University on Jan. 13. SVSU will host Senior Day is will take place against GVSU on Feb. 26.

The GLIAC Postseason Tournament is scheduled for March 1-6, while the NCAA DII National Tournament will take place later in March with the Elite Eight running from March 22-25 in Birmingham, Ala.

GLIAC Preseason Poll:

The Cardinals were selected to finish fourth in the South Division in the 2021-22 Preseason Coaches' Poll with 29 points, just behind Wayne State University with 31. GVSU was picked to win the South with 44 points and nine first-place votes. Michigan Tech was picked to win the North Division with 56 points and eight first-place votes.

Preseason Interview with Head Coach Jenny Pruett: