Women’s basketball has strong experience

The Truman State University women’s basketball team tipped off their season at the GLVC/Great Midwest Athletic Conference Challenge, Nov. 12-13. The Bulldogs came away with one win and one loss. 

While Truman reached the NCAA Division II Tournament during 2021, they did not advance to the tournament during 2022. 

Truman is poised to come back stronger this year, returning with last season’s top-two scorers Ellie Weltha and Hannah Belanger.

“Our goal this season is to play deep into March,” head coach Theo Dean said. “We were a young team last season, and now that our freshmen from last year have experience, coupled with our seniors, we know what has to be done to achieve that goal.”

Belanger and Weltha will lead the team into this season, Dean said. Belanger was named a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American during 2021, and Weltha earned All-Region honors last season. Both have been named GLVC athletes of the week this season with the Bulldogs earning those spots two weeks in a row.

Belanger, who is currently 10th on Truman’s all-time scoring list, will finish her career this season as one of the most decorated players in Truman’s history, but she said she understands that basketball is a team sport and is locked in on team success and enjoying her last season. 

“Experience is definitely a strength this year,” Belanger said. “We have two excellent incoming transfer players, but we also have a lot of newcomers that are giving us a lot of energy that we haven’t had in past years.”

Weltha will also end her career this season as one of the best rebounders in Truman’s history as she is poised to finish top-10 in rebounds and rebounding average in the program’s history. 

Belanger said to look out for Alex Fanning, a transfer from Benedictine University, to have a breakout season. 

Fanning is a post player who averaged 13.1 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in two years at Benedictine. She has already made an impact at Truman, averaging 10.3 points in six games so far this season.  

Dean said he is excited for the season and felt optimistic about the future after 2023. 

“We want to establish ourselves as a consistently good team every year,” Dean said. “We don’t want to be good one year, then fall off the next. We want to be in the mix every season, and I think we have built a foundation that can get us there.”