Monmouth’s goal-setting meeting before the season was simple and to-the-point.

“I looked at them and I said, ‘I assume all of you guys want to win another gold ball,’” eighth-year Mustangs coach Scott Wing said. “And they all just, in unison, went, yep.”

Not all the juniors on last year’s state championship team return for their senior campaigns, but Monmouth was overflowing with depth in 2016-17 and is again overflowing with depth in 2017-18.

Guard Tia Day averaged 12.44 points, and MVC-best 5.2 assists, 4.1 steals and made 2.4 3-pointers per game last year. Abbey Allen scored 8.9 points and pulled down 8.9 rebounds.

At or near the same level are Hannah Anderson and Abby Ferland. Beyond those four is a deep and versatile bench, with players who probably would start on most teams, that Wing made full use of last year.

Long story short, the defending champs are still stacked.

Wing said every player has improved, but that junior Destiny Clough and sophomore Libby Clement have made the largest strides since last season.

Wing has talked with the team a lot about staying focused every single game.

“I’ve talked to them about the fact that everybody’s going to be gunning for us,” he said. “You know, who wouldn’t want to beat the defending state champion. And a lot of teams will know that if they can knock us off, that’ll be their ticket to the tournament, probably. We need to be focused every night regardless of who we’re playing.”

Coach: Scott Wing (eighth year)

Conference: MVC; Class: C South

Last year’s results: 20-3 (Class C state champion)

Returning athletes: Seniors — Abbey Allen, Hannah Anderson, Tia Day, Emma Vierling; Juniors — Kaeti Butterfiled, Kayla Brooks, Destiny Clough, Julia Johnson, Abby Ferland; Sophomores — Libby Clement, Audrey Fletcher.

Key losses: Maddie Amero, Emily Grandahl.

Promising newcomers: Juniors — Haley Langlois; Sophomores — Katie Harris.

Basketball hoop

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