The University of Wisconsin-Superior women’s basketball team is gaining a foothold in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and the Yellowjackets’ improvement was recognized recently with a pair of WIAC season-ending awards.
Head coach Don Mulhern earned WIAC Coach of the Year honors, and senior Bri Davis was named a co-recipient of the Judy Kruckman Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete Award.
Mulhern joins Roger Prescott as the only women’s basketball coaches in UW-Superior history to receive the honor.
“This is an award for my players, as it emphasizes the work that they have done. It especially reflects on the leadership that Bri Davis and Hailey Hart brought to the team,” Mulhern said. “It is recognition of the players buying into what we are trying to do here and what they have done to move the program forward.”
The Yellowjackets enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in school history in 2011-12. Entering the season picked to finish eighth in the conference, the Yellowjackets opened eyes by finishing sixth and qualifying for the WIAC tournament for the first time since 2004.
UWS posted an overall record of 12-14, with a conference mark of 5-11. The win totals were the most since 1994-95, and the Yellowjackets also set a school record for consecutive wins this season when they claimed five straight from Dec. 17 to Jan. 7.
The season is the latest step in a long building process under Mulhern.
“I really have to give a lot of credit to our athletics director (Steve Nelson) and the administration of the university for the patience and understanding that they’ve had,” Mulhern said. “They understand that this is a process and that we weren’t going to be able to build what we want here overnight. So this is a tribute to all of them as well.”
Davis received the scholar-athlete award following her final season with the Yellowjackets. She is majoring in community health with a minor in child development and has a cumulative grade point average of 3.97. Davis is a three-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll and has been named to the dean’s list at UW-Superior several times.
“Bri reflects everything that is good about student-athletes,” Mulhern said. “She has worked tirelessly in the gym to become the best player she could be and has done the same things in the classroom, and this award recognizes that.”
Davis is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Health and Human Performance Club at UW-Superior.
UWS did not have any athletes named to the All-WIAC first team, but four players received honorable mention nods: Davis, Hart, Sally Linzmeier and Connie Urmanski. Davis and Hart are both seniors, Urmanski is a junior and Linzmeier is a freshman.
“Those four played a lot of minutes for us this season and all of them are huge part of steps that we’ve been able to make over the years as a program,” Mulhern said. “I’m extremely grateful to Bri and Hailey for what they’ve done over their four years. We wouldn’t be talking about any of this without them. At the same time I’m extremely excited about the future with players like Connie and Sally returning.”
Linzmeier was chosen as a member of the WIAC All-Defensive Team, the only freshman to be honored.
Mariah Marcol was the Yellowjacket named to the WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team.
“It’s exciting that we have been able to build something and seem to have turned a corner here, but we can’t be satisfied with that,” Mulhern said. “We still have a ways to go to get to the level that we think we can be at.”