BEMIDJI -- There may not be a player the Bemidji State women’s basketball team trusts more than Sydney Zerr.
The junior point guard has started the team’s past 47 games dating back to her freshman year, and she conducts the offense with her conference-best 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. And, to truly put your minutes where your mouth is, Zerr again leads the team in time on the court.
“Coach (Chelsea) DeVille really trusts my defensive game and really pushed me to work on my offensive game,” Zerr said, “to not only be in the game on defense, but also to make myself a threat on offense.”
Zerr has played 34.8 minutes a night, six minutes ahead of anyone else on the team and third among all players in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. She has racked up 66 minutes of playing time since her last turnover, and she’s a constant on a defensive unit that allows just 55 points per game.
“She’s definitely out there defensively, first and foremost. That’s how she earned her spot,” DeVille said of Zerr. “She’s developed her game into an offensive threat. That was her challenge this (offseason): to be a spot-up 3-point shooter. She’s done it and shown it every day in practice. It’s a focus she has in the game, too, to keep letting it fly.”
Zerr said she first gets herself going on defense, which then leads into her offensive game. So far, so good, as she has helped the Beavers open the season at 3-1.
“They all matter for us, especially just who we are and seeing a moxy and confidence instilled in our group,” DeVille said of the nonconference record. “We’re giving our kids the confidence going into every game, and they’ve seen it (pay off).
“And we’re not even there yet offensively. We’re not even there yet defensively. There’s still a lot to get better on, and I think that’s the exciting part.”
The schedule next leads into Minnesota Crookston, where BSU will face the Golden Eagles to begin NSIC play. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the threat of heavy snow in the forecast pushed the contest to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2.
The wait is a little longer now, but Zerr believes her team is ready regardless of tipoff time.
“We’ve been really working on our defense and pushing the tempo on offense,” she said. “(Us guards) are trusting our posts inside and working… on the outside.”
UMC enters in at 1-3, most recently defeating Chaminade (Hawaii) on Nov. 16 during a trip to tropical Honolulu. Sophomore center Bren Fox (12.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg) leads a contingent of six underclassmen that tops the team in scoring, but Minnesota Crookston commits 20.5 turnovers a game, second most in the Northern Sun.
“I want to make sure we control the game defensively, but then I want an offensive balance where we’re sharing the basketball,” DeVille said. “That’s when we’re at our best, when those assists show on the stat sheet.”
On both ends of the court, Zerr will be sure to do her part.
“Really not letting my mistakes carry over (is my responsibility),” she said. “I mean, if I do make a mistake, try to forget about it and move on to the next play. Make something happen.”