State Colleges

Kansas Wesleyan off to hot start

It's the practice every basketball coach dreads.

And after an eight-day break for the holidays, Kansas Wesleyan women's basketball coach Gordon Reimer brought his team back together on Monday to go through it.

And the Coyotes, 13-0 and ranked No. 6 in NAIA Division II, proved to be nothing short of what they've been all year — above expectations.

"They all came back and their conditioning was great, I was really happy with how ready they were to get after it," Reimer said. "And I think part of that comes from the record and part of that comes from just not being satisfied with what we've done so far. Every day, we challenge our team to set the bar a little higher."

Even Reimer, who led Kansas Wesleyan to its first national tournament appearance in 2008-2009, has been surprised at his team's quick ascension in the national rankings.

"It's high for this time of year, no doubt," Reimer said. "And we also know that with that ranking it's obvious that we're going to face some opponents really wanting to knock us off."

If a team wants to beat the Coyotes, they'll have to find a way to stop not one or even two different scoring threats — Kansas Wesleyan has five players averaging in double-digit scoring, plus returning All-American LaCole Wilkinson at 9.54 points per game.

"They're just the most unselfish team I've ever coached," Reimer said. "They just don't care who scores that night as long as somebody's getting it done. It's a really good situation to be in as a coach, and (Wilkinson) is a four-year starter and a senior, so she's the one who sets the tone."

Sophomore Stephanie Frost leads the Coyotes with 13.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks. The 5-foot-10 sophomore from Assaria was an All-KCAC selection last year, along with being named the league's freshman of the year and to the All-KCAC defensive team.

"She's so athletic ... she can jump and she can shoot the ball outside, which causes matchup problems when somebody who is her height tries to guard her," Reimer said. "She's got a great upside."