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Bemidji State women's basketball looks to continue improvement this season

Colleen McKay lines up a shot at Wednesday's practice. Pioneer?Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji State women's basketball team had one of the best turnarounds in program history last season.

After a disastrous 3-24 season in 2008-09, the Beavers rebounded for a 12-15 season that included a win over then defending national champion and No. 11 ranked Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The Beavers are looking to keep moving in a positive direction when the season begins at home on Nov. 16 at Mayville State.

"I really think we get along well, we've got a lot of returning players and last year's freshmen learned to play together well - I think we're going to have a good season," Bemidji State senior forward Colleen McKay said.

After the three win season, McKay said there was a shift in attitude among the players and that shift has helped set the foundation for this season.

"We made up our mind after that bad season that we were not going to have a year like that," McKay said. "We came back hungry and we had a better year. I also think our team chemistry was really good last year."

The Beavers will return most of its key players from last year: McKay, junior guard Sydney Epema, junior guard Taylor Davis, junior forward Samantha Baldwin, sophomore center Emily Kaus, sophomore center Jessie Althoff and senior guard Anna Hebrink.

Freshman Kate Warmack, a East Grand Forks graduate, will team up with McKay and Kaus to give BSU a strong presence in the post.

"One thing I really like about our team is our athleticism and quickness," Bemidji State head coach Mike Curfman said. "I think we're going to be really strong in transition and we're going to be able to fast break when it presents itself. I also think we're going to be able to play in the posts with Emily Kaus, Colleen and Jessie Althoff. Kate Warmack was such a big addition for us."

It will not take long for the Beavers to find out what it has on the court. The Beavers will play Jamestown College next Thursday in an exhibition game at BSU Gymnasium.

"We're working hard on cleaning up our defense in practice and that's a big goal for us right now," McKay said.

Curfman said the exhibition game against the Jimmies will provide a good opportunity to see where the team is at before the season opener against Mayville State.

"That's going to be one of the great things about that game," Curfman said. "We've only been practicing two weeks and that game will give us a great opportunity to make an assessment of where we are at. That way if we need to make adjustments, we can do that before the games start counting."

BSU will play an exhibition on Nov. 4 at Division I South Dakota.

BSU will play California (Pa.) and Grand View in the Mankato Tip-Off Tournament Nov. 19-20 before the NSIC opener against MSU, Moorhead on Dec. 3.