…and Happy New Year
As a surprise to absolutely no one, Augustana University from Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be joining The Summit League. And we told you it was going to happen well before the announcement yesterday. As any casual follower of the Summit knows, the tiny college located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will do nothing to elevate the conference competitively or reputationally.
As an insular conference, the Summit League just got more localized with half the conference located in the Dakotas. The move is expected to be made in 2021-22. And then Augustana will join Presbyterian College from Clinton, SC as one of the smallest Division I programs in the country. Continue reading Augustana to go Division I, will likely join Summit League
As Denver Pioneer fans, we’re lucky that we can pop our attention from one successful DU sports program to another. All three fall DU sports (men’s and women’s soccer plus women’s volleyball) earned appearances in their respective NCAA Tournaments this fall. And DU hockey is now ranked seventh in the nation on this bye week, more successful than almost anyone thought they’d be at this point in the season with a young team. Which brings me to the next DU team worthy of more of our attention, the DU women’s basketball team, who have shot out to a 6-1 start to the season and a current national top 40 RPI (#39) ranking, including a current four-game winning streak, as of Sunday, Dec. 2. (Note: Early season RPI rankings are subject to volatile swings, as game data comparisons are still somewhat paltry.)
I would venture a guess that perhaps only 10 percent of our readership here at LetsGoDU have ever been to a live DU women’s basketball game before, and it’s hard to blame them. There is a lot to do in Denver, and the DU women’s basketball teams have been pretty terrible in recent memory, known more for single-digit win/last-place seasons, a fired coach and crowds comprised mostly of friends and family members. Apart from a surprise 2001 NCAA appearance in the early years of the Ritchie Center and a period of decent mediocrity (72-52) under former coach Erik Johnson from 2008-2012, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about with DU women’s hoops in the last 20 years.
But this year’s DU women’s team is starting to change some of that…
The Pioneers are starting to get noticed in just the second year of the Jim Turgeon coaching era, with home wins over then-#16 RPI Lamar and the latest win, a 29-point win over Loyola Marymount, a top 100 team who had already beaten UCLA and Arizona this year. Moreover, the Pioneers are a very high-scoring bunch, averaging a stunning 90 points per game to date this season, and sport a victory margin of 16 points per game.
And Turgeon, who came to DU from CSU-Pueblo in NCAA Division II two years ago, is doing all this with many of former DU coach Kerry Cremeans’ recruits, who knew only college basketball failure before Turgeon’s arrival. Moreover, he’s done it with a wholly different philosophy of team speed, running the floor at altitude and sharing the ball, instead of Cremeans’ over-reliance on feeding key players, a coaching practice that reportedly lost the locker room and brought an end to her losing tenure at DU. This year, DU has five players averaging double-digit scoring per game, a depth which makes it harder for opponents to key on any one player, and also makes for a much happier DU locker room.
DU’s high scoring attack has been led by Lauren Loven, a junior holdover recruit from Cremeans, who is now flourishing in the ball-sharing Turgeon era, leading the entire nation in made three-pointers (30 in six games through Nov. 30), and is averaging 21 points per game overall to lead the Pioneers in scoring. Additionally, fellow Junior Madison Nelson has exploded recently, with a 20-rebound performance against Lamar and pumping in 28 points in the win over Loyola Marymount. But it’s not just upperclassmen.
Hard-working associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Kayla Ard and the rest of Turgeon’s Denver staff have also brought in some freshmen who are stepping up right away, including Sydney Mech, a local swing player out of Cherry Creek High School who can play either forward or guard, and who is shooting a scorching 50% from the field, averaging 10 points per game. Additionally, talented freshman guard Tsimba Malonga from the Chicago area, who has averaged over 20 minutes per game in the last two games, is being rewarded with more playing time as her contributions increase.
While the 6-1 early record is outstanding, it has been created with a lot of home games, and we’ll soon see what the Pioneers are really made of in the coming weeks. DU is preparing to go on the road for seven of its next eight games, including visits to Wyoming, the University of Nebraska and Colorado State, before heading into the teeth of Summit League play, where top level programs South Dakota and South Dakota State are projected to lead the Summit League.
Want your own Denver Boone pins to display your Pioneer pride? Perfect to pin on vests, blazers, jackets and hats. These high quality pins are 1″ in height and cost only $10.00 a pair on Ebay. $2.00 from each sale will be donated to the new DU Spirit Fund and $4.00 will go to a needy camper(s) at next summer’s Rodney Billups basketball camp.
Denver Boone is the beloved unofficial mascot of the University of Denver. The mascot was created by Disney studios in 1968 – 50 years ago. Continue reading Denver Boone Pins have finally arrived
It went fast and it was fun. Full of winning, parties and even a little snow. DU won every game, match and meet (swimming thrashed Colorado State) to make it a perfect weekend. Here are the Top 5 moments from the weekend. Continue reading A look back at Homecoming Weekend
Welcome to the Homecoming Weekend at DU!
Since LetsGoDU’s inception in 2008, our core purpose/mission has never changed – to elevate school spirit at the University of Denver. It’s far more than just rah-rah stuff – we believe the bond between a school and its alumni and sports fans is a sacred one and that’s why we do what we do, all year long. If you are reading this far, chances are you are a serious Denver fan, and we’re so glad to have you with us in our shared community. Continue reading New ‘Go Denver Pioneers Spirit Fund’ to enhance DU Gameday Experience
This upcoming weekend, October 12th – 14th, marks another DU Homecoming and a great chance for students, families, DU faculty and staff along with alumni to cheer on the Pioneers. The weather forecast shows cold weather clearing out Saturday and sunny weather in the 50’s on Saturday for Hocktoberfest – with rapidly falling temperatures.
Hocktoberfest will again feature live music, food and, of course, beer before the game. And, like last year there will be a complimentary scarf and Denver cup.
If you are a last minute planner, there are tickets still a few tickets left for this upcoming weekend. Continue reading Homecoming Weekend – It’s that time again!
Photo: DenverPioneers.com. Becca Latham leads a balanced Pioneer attack
It is finally happening. DU (14-1, 3-0 Summit) and North Dakota (12-8, 4-1 Summit) are headed for a ‘first time’ collision course in Summit League play – and this one should be interesting. Denver women’s volleyball plays new Summit League member North Dakota this weekend on the road Sunday, following a Friday road match against South Dakota 10-6, 4-0 Summit). Continue reading DU Volleyball gets first crack at North Dakota as Summit League foe