Coach: Greg Pedersen (fifth season)
Last season: 15-13, 6-6 in North Suburban Lake, lost to Warren in Class 4A Warren regional semifinals
Key losses: PG Maggie Piazzi
Returning players: Sr. F Claire Keefe (6-0), Sr. F Caroline Frea (6-0), Sr. G Riley Weis (5-7), Sr. G Maggie O'Sullivan (5-7), Sr. G Jenna El Ghatit (5-7),
Newcomers: So. G Sara Leese (5-4), So. G Lisa Lamb (5-7), Jr. G Zi Tompkins (5-7), So. F Maddie Spaulding (5-10), Jr. G Morgan Manski (5-5), Jr. F Amy Steeno (5-10), Fr. G Lydia Crow (5-7), So. F Maggie Evers (5-9), Jr. F Eliza Dembinski (6-1)
Outlook: A 1-4 start to last season set the tone and, outside of a five-game winning streak around Christmas, the Wildcats struggled to find consistency, despite having a veteran group. "I think this year we might be able to hit the ground running a little bit more than we did last year," coach Greg Pedersen said. "We have a bunch of returning players, and the kids coming up are really unselfish. It makes for a good combo." The Wildcats return their best player from last season in 6-foot senior Claire Keefe (13 ppg, 7 rpg), who's a two-time all-North Suburban Conference selection and is playing her fourth season on varsity. Also back are Riley Weis, 6-footer Caroline Frea (all-NSC last season) and Maggie O'Sullivan, all of whom are three-year varsity players. "They're battle-tested," Pedersen said. "They've been through this at least once. The practices have been really competitive. We got a really great team atmosphere built on hard work and dedication to the team. Which I think is going to go pretty far for us." The newcomers include junior point guard Morgan Manski, who will get a chance to run the offense and distribute the ball to the likes of Keefe, Weis, Frea and O'Sullivan. "She's aggressive and she can handle the ball pretty well," Pedersen said of Manski. "We're not asking her to do too much, just come down the floor and find one of those four (veterans) to pass the ball to. She's in a pretty good spot as far as new varsity point guards go, but it's a tough job. It's a tough conference, so she's definitely going to be tested quite a bit." Sophomore post Maddie Spaulding and freshman shooting guard Lydia Crow also could make an impact. "We have a little more offensive punch this year," Pedersen said. "They're really good kids, and they have a good time working together. They're pulling from the same end of the rope."