By Benjamin Wideman / Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
If not for Raelyn Woock, it’s doubtful the Silver Lake College women’s basketball team would be competing for a national championship.
The 5-foot-11 senior forward/center from Burnett turned in another impressive season, helping lead the Lakers to a 21-5 record and a berth in the upcoming United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2016 Basketball National Championships, which run March 1-5 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh.
“She had another really good year for us,” Lakers head coach Mike Flentje said. “She’s an impressive inside force, and we’ll need her experience and leadership now at nationals.”
The Lakers are seeded No. 4 in the eight-team Division 1 field and will play their first-round game at noon on March 2 against No. 5 seed University of Maine-Fort Kent (19-5). It’s the Lakers’ first trip to a national championship tournament in two decades.
The returning first-team USCAA All-American and Waupun High School graduate was the only Silver Lake College player to start every game this season.
In addition, she led the Lakers in per-game scoring (12.5 points), rebounding (10.4), blocks (1.5) and free-throw percentage (83.9). Her 37 total blocked shots rank second nationally in the USCAA, and her rebounds and free-throw percentage rank third nationally.
Woock said she is thrilled to be heading to nationals.
“When we were listening to the announcements of who made it to nationals, the moment they said ‘And from Manitowoc, Silver Lake College …’ my heart was racing,” said Woock, a team co-captain. “The whole world just stopped. There was so much excitement. A lot of energy and emotions running through me. Tears were falling.
“It’s just been a really great season. To score my 1,000th career point this season and now to make it to nationals, it’s great. We want to keep on winning.”
Woock’s inside presence has been a key to the team’s winning ways. Four times this season she pulled down at least 18 rebounds in a game — including a season-high 21 rebounds in an 84-83 victory over Gogebic on Jan. 30. And 18 times this season she scored in double digits — including a 24-point performance in a 72-44 win over Fox Valley Technical College on Feb. 8.