Bemidji State's Tatum Sheley brings natural scoring punch to lineup
BEMIDJI — BSU freshman Tatum Sheley scored a school-record 2,536 points in her six years as a member on the Pine River-Backus girls basketball team. After just nine games with the Beavers, she has shown the ability to score at the collegiate level as well.
“It has always come naturally to me,” Sheley said of her scoring ability. “They play a lot of zone in high school, so I was able to get a lot of shots, and luckily I made a lot of them.”
Through nine games this season, including eight starts, the freshman is averaging 10 points per game and is shooting 42 percent from long distance.
“Tatum is an all-around good scorer,” BSU coach Mike Curfman said. “We watched her a lot in high school and we knew she could score.”
Her double-figure scoring average makes her one of five BSU players averaging at least 10 points per game this season. She is joined in that group by fellow freshman Hann Zerr, who is averaging 10.3 points per contest.
“It is good to have five people on the floor that can score,” Sheley said. “Hanna and I are getting used to how to score at this level.”
“Both of them have done a really nice job so far,” Curfman said of his two freshmen. “We are just working on getting a balance on both ends of the floor.”
With Zerr running the offense at point guard and Kate Warmack and Jessie Althoff playing in the post, Sheley has joined senior Morgan Lee at the wing position in the starting lineup most of the season.
Because of her shooting ability Sheley has opened things offensively for Lee but she credits the senior for offering guidance to both the position and the college level.
“She has been a great role model,” Sheley said of Lee. “She is the player I want to become. She’s got composure, scoring, and everything. She’s g
ot the whole package and she is a great person to have on the team.” “Not only is Morgan a very talented player on the floor, but she has provided great leadership as well,” Curfman added. “Tatum has the ability to do a lot of the same things that Morgan has done and it is really nice that she has a mentor to show her the ropes.”
After the first third of her first college season, Sheley hopes to see self-improvement and wants to remain competitive throughout the NSIC season.
“We just hope to win the tough games,” Sheley said. “We want to come out stronger and faster and make every game competitive.”
As far as Sheley’s future with the Beavers, Curfman credits her work ethic to his high hopes for her career.
“I am excited to see the player that she will become,” Curfman said. “She has the talent to be as good as she wants to be, and I think she wants to be pretty good. It will be an exciting four years.”