Whoever said that there is no substitute for experience must have been looking at the women’s basketball standings in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. In the women’s standings, there is a direct correlation between point production out of freshmen and sophomores and rank in the league.
The two teams that get less than 20 percent of their points from underclassmen, Northwestern (15 percent) and Hastings (18 percent) rank first and second in the conference. (Northwestern has not had a freshman score a varsity point this season.) The third and fourth place teams, Concordia (23.4 percent) and Dakota Wesleyan (22.6 percent) rank fourth and third in underclassmen production.
At the other end of the scale, the teams ranking 1-2-3 in underclassmen production — Nebraska Wesleyan (91.4 percent), Mount Marty (66.1 percent) and Doane (58.1 percent) — are 11th, 10th and ninth in the league.
The correlation is not nearly as strong on the men’s side, with top-ranked Dordt having the fifth-most underclassmen production (47.6 percent), thanks to a couple all-conference level freshmen. But the second and third place teams in the league, Hastings (4.7 percent) and Midland (4.3 percent), rank 10th and 11th in underclassmen production.
On this chart, Mount Marty is in the middle of the pack at 41 percent. A more accurate description on the men’s side might be points from seniors, where the Lancers would rank last because they have none.
The moral of this story is, as University of South Dakota football coach Joe Glenn would put it, the Lancers “need birthdays.” And, in the case of the women, to get healthy again.
Here is the full chart, if you’d like to see it.