Plenty of fresh faces for Triton women's basketball

Mardaeja Cross

Kelly Kruger looks at his fourth season as head coach of the Iowa Central women's basketball program and knows he has to remain patient.

Kruger and the Tritons won 18 games last year, but the majority of the production from that team has graduated. 

Iowa Central's roster includes just three active sophomores in Mardaeja Cross, Justice Crooks and Aaliyah Hull after a preseason knee injury forced Jessica Jackson to the sidelines.

"We've got a busy November and I think that we'll know a lot more about ourselves after we play those games," Kruger said. "We've got conference games with Southeastern and Iowa Lakes right before the break, which gives us sort of a two-game season to try and get a leg-up in the conference. 

"Those first 11 games will be used to prepare us for those first two conference games, then we come back and jump right into it. We've got a lot to try and accomplish here in November."

Crooks, who was sidelined two years ago with an injury, played in 23 games last year and made eight starts. She averaged just udner seven point per  with 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and almost a steal per night. 

Cross started 23 of 29 games during the 2017-18 season before sitting out last year. She posted nine points per night that year and shot almost 51 percent from the floor. 

"We'll try to develop a rotation here early on, use some different lineups and see what works," Kruger said. "Several of the newcomers have done a nice job and are earning playing time."

Freshmen on the roster include Auriyah Stewart, Anni Cummings, Avery Tilley, Jordan Engbrecht, Amya Milligan, Jesirae Berthoud, Kae'la Jackson, Isabell West, Jacie Stephenson, Jhordyn Chalmers, K'Breonna Collins and Arthel Massaquoi.