Three-time Heart of America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Ben Lister enters his seventh season as head coach of the Wildcats in 2017-18.
His team is coming off its fourth-straight appearance in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Tournament and another 20-win season, its fifth-straight.
The 2016-17 Wildcat squad had arguably its greatest regular-season in history, as the Wildcats captured both the Heart of America Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament championship for the first time in program history.
Baker ended the year 30-5, the most wins in a season in history and Coach Lister was named the Heart Coach of the Year and Kelsey Larson was named Heart Player of the Year and Second Team NAIA All-American.
BU advanced to the NAIA National Championship Tournament as a No. 2 seed and won its first game of the tournament over No. 7 Mobile (Ala.), 72-56, moving on to the Round of 16 for the third time in four years. Then No. 3 Campbellsville upset No. 2 Baker, 73-56.
In 2015-16 Baker completed one of its greatest seasons in athletics history, as they advanced all the way to the national championship game of the 2016 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Tournament inside the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Mo.
The 'Cats finished the season with a record of 28-9 and defeated nationally ranked teams Columbia (Mo.), Shawnee State (Ohio), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Benedictine (Kan.) before eventually falling to rival MNU in the National Title game.
Baker also earned another NAIA All-American, as Macy Wallisch became a three-time Heart Defensive Player of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American.
In 2014-15 the women's basketball program earned another NAIA All-American. As senior Kyrstie Ehm was named to the 2014-15 NAIA Honorable Mention All-America team.
Also for the second-straight season, junior center Macy Wallisch earned the Heart Defensive Player of the Year award and ranked No. 1 in the country in total blocks with 83.
Baker went 21-10 on the year and finished in third place in the Heart standings at, 13-5. The Wildcats entered the NAIA National Tournament as the No. 7 seed in its bracket and took on No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist in the First Round of the tournament inside the Independence Events Center in Independence, Missouri. The Wildcats eventually fell, 52-47, to the Bison to end its season.
In just his third season at the helm of the Baker University women's basketball program, head coach Ben Lister took a program with just six victories in 2011-12 to a 27-7 and 17-1 Heart regular season championship record in 2013-14.
Under Lister's leadership the Wildcats also qualified for the 2014 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Tournament for the first time in program history and with its 74-61 win over No. 23 ranked University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) in the first round, Baker captured its first-ever postseason victory at the NAIA Division I level.
For the second-straight season Lister was named the Heart Coach of the Year and senior point guard BriAnna Garza was named the 2013-14 Heart Player of the Year and sophomore center Macy Wallisch earned the 2013-14 Heart Defensive Player of the Year award.
Garza was also named a 2013-14 NAIA Third-Team All-American and 2013-14 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete. Teammates Shea Shoemaker and Kyrstie Ehm also earned postseason honors, as Shoemaker was named to the All-Heart Second Team and Ehm earned a spot on the All-Heart Third Team. Baker also ended the 2013-14 season ranked No. 11 in the final 2013-14 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25, BU's highest-ever ranking.
Lister captured his first 20-win season at Baker in 2012-13 program and earned his first Heart of America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award.
Under his leadership, Baker went 20-12 overall and 12-6 in the Heart, good for a tie of third-place in the conference standings. The Wildcats then advanced to the semifinals of the HAAC conference tournament, where they battled with No. 1 seeded MNU all the way to the end, eventually falling to the Pioneers, 59-55.
Lister also guided Alisha Fanshier to a first-team All-Heart selection and NAIA Honorable Mention All-America honors in 2012-13 and Rece Huddlin to a third-team All-Heart honor. Both Fanshier and Huddlin were brought to Baker University by Coach Lister. Fanshier played for Lister her entire collegiate career, two years at Baker and two at Barton Community College.
Lister served as the assistant coach for four years at Barton Community College, where he was a part of two Jayhawk West titles for the Cougars, including a 34-3 mark during the 2007-08 season when Barton finished fourth in the nation. In his first four seasons coaching college, Lister compiled a 48-4 conference record.
Before Barton, Lister spent two years as the head coach for Manhattan Christian College (Kan.), compiling a 44-23 record. During his time at MCC, the team captured back-to-back regular-season conference championships, going undefeated both years in conference play. MCC captured a regional and conference championship in 2005-06, finishing with a 27-7 record to rank third all-time on the school charts.
Coach Lister was named Central Region Coach of the Year in 2005-06. During his two years, MCC produced seven all-conference players, seven all-region players, two regional MVPs, one conference MVP and three All-Americans.
- 2013-14 Heart of America Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Coach of the Year
- 2012-13 Heart of America Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Coach of the Year
- Led the Wildcats to its first HAAC regular season championship since 1983
- Captured the first win in program history at the 2014 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Tournament
- Three teams finished ranked in the top 15 nationally
- Five out of six teams programs finished first or second in the conference
- In six years of coaching his teams have averaged 23 wins per season
- Coached 23 all-conference players, 12 all-region players, and five All-Americans
Entering his fifth year with the Baker Wildcats women's basketball program, Murray Knox brings over thirty years of coaching experience and recruiting expertise to the program.
Throughout his career Knox has had the opportunity to work with various high schools in both the Coaching and Athletic Director roles. Knox coached both the men's and women's programs at the University of Kansas and spent several years coaching and recruiting, leading his teams, within both the USBL Semi-Pro League, and CBA (Continental Basketball Association) to championships.
His professional contacts and scouting ability have continued his growth as a coach. Baker University offered Coach Knox an opportunity to be involved with a supportive community, strong academic institution, and competitive athletic department.
Knox is excited, to once again, be a part of the women's basketball program and working with head coach Ben Lister.
Jami Hodge enters her second season as the graduate assistant for women’s basketball, having graduated from Baker in 2016 with her Bachelor of Arts in business marketing and a minor in art. As a graduate student, she is pursuing her Master of Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in leadership and management.
A two-time NAIA Scholar Athlete, Hodge had a decorated basketball career for the Wildcats. She was a member of three NAIA National Tournament teams, and her teams compiled an overall record of 96-38. During her senior season, Hodge helped lead BU to the NAIA National Championship game – the first in program history.
Jami finished the 2016 National Tournament as the tourney’s leading scorer while also leading the tournament in steals and finishing fourth in rebounds. Her stat line average of 16.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.4 steals was enough to earn her a spot on the All-NAIA National Tournament Team.
Coach Hodge finished her playing career as a 2nd team all-conference member, and planted herself into the Baker Women’s Basketball record books. Her 30 points in the first round of the 2016 NAIA National Tournament is the 4th highest single-game point total in program history. Jami also finished in second place all-time in steals in a game (8), season (84), and career (159).
In her first season as a member of the coaching staff, Coach Hodge helped lead her alma mater to the best record in school history, as the Wildcats finished the season with 30 wins and became the first BU Women’s Basketball team to win the conference regular season and tournament championships in the same season.