I’m sure the Lady Norse don’t want to even think about next season yet.
After all, we are not even two weeks out of this year’s biggest Cinderella story.
So keep celebrating, Norse Nation, you deserve to. No one saw this coming, and it will be the most remembered title run, in any sport, men or women’s for years to come.
However, the Norse are staring into a season with two gaping holes and – although they won’t be easy to fill – it’s doable.
The losses of Angela Healy and Nichole Chidoi will sting next year.
But the Norse have the experience to make another unexpected run – although if they do, they won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year.
Just ask Alaska-Anchorage and South Dakota what it’s like to face the big underdog. The Norse will need solid players to step into those pivotal roles.
Cassie Brannen will have to step into the large shoes previously filled by All-American Honorable Mention center Angela Healy. Healy had more than a dozen double-doubles. Brannen certainly has the potential to do that.
Brannen and Healy were completely dominant on the low blocks this year. However, Brannen may have to elevate her game even more. The sister of former University of Cincinnati standout Bobby Brannen, Cassie has the potential to average a double-double just as well as her former teammate.
However, she’s going to need a partner in crime if the Norse want to have the dominant low-block presence that propelled them to a national championship.
Rachel Lantry will most likely pull into play point guard. The former Holy Cross star, while a couple inches shorter than Chiodi, brings a different dimension to the position. Chiodi was more of a disher than a shooter, while Lantry brings more of a shooter’s touch to the role.
Lantry came off the bench in all 36 games to average three points per game. Although Lantry was used sparingly and her statistics for the Title Game are anything but eye-popping, Lantry’s four points, four rebounds and 24 minutes of solid defensive play were hugely instrumental. Her free throw in the final minute iced the game.
Before you laugh at the thought of the Lady Norse making a repeat performance next season, remember that critics snickered at the notion of them winning the national championship.