For the second straight year, the Silver Lake College women's basketball team is heading to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association's National Championships.
The Lakers are the No. 5 seed in the eight-team Division 1 women's tournament, which will be held in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh.
SLC plays its first-round game against No. 4 seed Florida College (of Tampa, Florida) on March 1 at 11 a.m. (Central time).
"Everyone has worked very hard all season long, so it's a real honor to be able to go to nationals for the second year in a row," said Mike Flentje, in his 10th year as Lakers head coach. "We've had some very good teams these last few years, so we feel the program is very solid. We're getting some great student-athletes competing for us, and we're going to give it everything we have at nationals."
"Last year I was excited, but making it my senior year puts a whole new perspective on it!" said Gerhard, a guard-forward who averages 5.3 points per game. "I couldn't ask for a better year to end my basketball journey."
Kudick began crying when she heard the team qualified for nationals. "I never dreamed that I would finish my senior year at Kewaunee in the WIAA state championship and now have the opportunity to finish my college career on the national stage," said Kudick (13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists).
SLC's inside game is powered by a trio of former Manitowoc County high school standouts — Danelle Buck, a junior from Valders High School (14.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 steals); Hailee Kotche, a sophomore from Lincoln High School (9.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks); and Tasha Rabe, a freshman from Kiel High School (8.9 points, 6.6 rebounds).
"I never thought that I would have the opportunity to go to nationals," Rabe said. "But being on a hard-working team with teammates that help you through anything is a big help."
The Lakers' long-range attack is spearheaded by sophomore guard Ashley Rumlow of Oshkosh (10.7 points per game; 90 three-pointers) and junior guard Danielle Byrum of Sheboygan (7.8 points per game; 57 three-pointers).
"As more than half the team went to nationals last year, I feel we know what to expect and will be more comfortable on the national stage," Byrum said. "I'm so proud of what this team has accomplished during the season, and I cannot be more thankful to get another couple games with my wonderful teammates."
Other SLC contributors include freshman guard Carla Martinez of Valencia, Spain (1.8 points), sophomore guard Kadiatou Coulibaly of Bamako, Mali (1.8 points) and sophomore forward Selena Terrazas of St. Paul, Minnesota (0.3 points).
The other six teams competing in the Division 1 bracket of the national championship tournament include No. 1 seed Concordia College-Alabama, No. 2 seed Berea College (Kentucky), No. 3 seed Rochester College (Michigan), No. 6 seed Alfred State College (New York), No. 7 seed Dean College (Massachusetts) and No. 8 seed Paul Quinn College (Texas).