MARINETTE — The UWGB-Marinette women’s basketball team has a new streak to start.

If not for a dominant UW-Marathon team and a formidable UW-Waukesha team, the Buccaneers would be striving for a fourth consecutive Wisconsin Collegiate Conference (WCC) title and possibly another state championship.

“Waukesha we split with, but Marathon got us,” coach Jeff Sunstrom said. “(Marathon) was the best team in the conference.

“We lost to them by 14 points at their place and that’s the closest anyone came to beating them.”

Marinette defeated Marathon in a four-point game for the state title to conclude the 2016-17 season though it was the Huskies returning to the final to defeat Waukesha for the 2017-18 crown. Fortunately for the Buccaneers, the Huskies continue this season without WCC’s player of the year – Morgan Rachu.

On the other hand, Marinette returns two of its three players that earned conference recognition last season and another who was selected the year before.

Jordan Miller (Marinette) and Paige Reiswitz (Menominee) return for their sophomore seasons after being honorable mentions in all-conference picks, with season totals that closely resembled each other. Reiswitz was third on the team in scoring with 10.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while Miller averaged 10.1 and 3.7 rebounds. The two sophomores are among this year’s team captains.

“I believe in loyalty,” Sunstrom said. “The girls who are loyal to us — we are loyal to them in return.”

The team will need to move on without Tori Wangerin — a second-team all-conference pick who led Marinette with 15.6 points per game last season. It also is without Katelyn Kuffel, who was second on the team, averaging 14.3 per game. Sunstrom said that lost production should be regained with full seasons from Morgan Roman and Sarah Pettit.

Roman (Menominee) was available for just the latter part of last season after coming back to Marinette from Michigan State.

“I tried to get (Roman) here before, but she chose Michigan State,” Sunstrom said. “After a while she found out that Marinette isn’t so bad so she asked if she could join us.

“After she joined the team, we instantly became better.”

Pettit was a first-team all-conference selection for Marinette at the end of the 2016-17 season and then had plans to join the Cardinal Stritch roster last season. However, rather than accept a redshirt, Pettit returned to Marinette. She averaged 14.7 points per game in her all-conference season.

Jenna Thill (Peshtigo) also returns for her sophomore season after averaging 7.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She joins Miller, Reiswitz, Roman and Pettit as the experience on the roster; they’re joined by four newcomers that likely will see playing time this season.

“We have the experience with five veteran players,” Sunstrom said. “We also have four promising freshmen and if they’re out there and playing well, I’m not taking them out.”

McKenzie Bebo (Marinette), Mercedes Waupoose (Menominee Indian), Madelin Schultz (Marinette) and Brianne Burnett (Menominee) enter their first season for the Buccaneers.

Should the freshmen need time to acclimate themselves to the college game, they’ll need to do so on the road. Marinette begins its season on Saturday at UW-Waukesha for the first of four consecutive road games. In addition to the season opener, the Buccaneers also will have a rematch with UW-Marathon before hosting their first home game of the season on Dec. 5.

That game starts a stretch of four at home, stretching from early December into January. But the team returns to the road soon after for a season-long road stretch of five games.