Our middle game on the East Court features what could be the big upset of the day. White Bear Lake is rated #6AAAA by Northstar Girls Hoops but just #14 by Breakdown Sports. Rogers, just 15-13 last year and now without center Lindsey Dorr, is a shaky #15AAAA at Northstar, but #8AAAA at the Breakdown. Still, a Rogers win would be an upset.
But look at their talent! At the guard spots you’ve got seniors Taylor Anderson and Taylor Paulsrud, both of whom will be moving on to Minnesota State-Mankato a year hence. Paulsrud in particular had a spectacular summer season in 2014 that got her a handful of D1 offers, but she decided to stick to her previous verbal commitment to the Mavericks.
At one forward spot you’ve got Jamestown commit Marina Nowak, who plays a lot bigger than her 5-9 height. And at the post, the Royals can replace Dorr, who has moved on to Toledo, with 6-0 junior Hannah Sjerven, who has the potential to be even better.
So the dilemma with Rogers is, how did they manage to lose 13 times last year!?
Of course, White Bear doesn’t back down from anybody when it comes to deep talent, deeper than Rogers,’ for sure. But they struggled last weekend at Hamline, losing big to Eastview and just getting by St. Paul Central 51-49. (Hey, Waconia beat the Lady Minutemen worse than that.)
The ringleaders are junior point guard Alison Hinck, senior three-point specialist Nikki Daul, and bookends Kate Brabanec and BriAnna Karg. They push the pace and they play an aggressive defense, and everything else follows from that.
Taylor Paulsrud, Rogers vs. Nikki Daul, White Bear Lake
These are two of the best three-point shooters in the state. Whoever gets hot has a leg up for the win.
Why Rogers Will Win
• The Royals will slow things down, avoid turnovers, and not let the Bears get any easy buckets.
• Sjerven will prove herself to be the top post on the floor.
Why White Bear Lake Will Win
• They’ll push the pace, they’ll get Rogers to running, they’ll create some turnovers and score some easy buckets that way.
• Brabanec and Karg will be one too many bigs for Sjerven to handle by herself.
White Bear Lake by 7