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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Heittola earns historic All-NSIC honor, Yoder named to 2nd team

Rachael Heittola and Trinity Yoder were named to the 2021-22 NSIC All-Conference Teams, which the league announced Thursday. Heittola was named to the First Team for the second year in a row, while Yoder picked up her second career Second Team selection.

020222.S.BP.BSUWBB Rachael Heittola.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Rachael Heittola (32) shoots in the first half against Augustana on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

BURNSVILLE -- For the first time since 1997, the Bemidji State women’s basketball team has fielded two all-conference players in back-to-back years. And one of BSU’s honorees has made more history in the process.

Rachael Heittola and Trinity Yoder were named to the 2021-22 NSIC All-Conference Teams, which the league announced Thursday. Heittola was named to the First Team for the second year in a row, while Yoder picked up her second career Second Team selection.

Heittola, a sophomore center out of Belleville, Wis., has been named to the First Team for the second consecutive season. This year’s distinction marks the first time in program history any player has earned two First Team All-Conference honors.

Heittola led the Beavers and ranked second in the conference with 6.3 defensive rebounds per game during the regular season. She also ranked fifth in the NSIC with a team-high 15.7 points per game. She has six double-doubles this season and has twice been named the NSIC North Player of the Week.

020922.S.BP.BSUWBB Trinity Yoder.jpg
Bemidji State senior Trinity Yoder (14) scores on a breakaway in the second half against U-Mary on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Yoder, a senior guard from Hayward, Wis., ends her Bemidji State tenure with her second career All-Conference Second Team honor, also earning the award in 2020. This regular season, she ranked third in the league and 23rd in the country with 5.0 assists per game. Yoder was also second on the team with 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while her 2.0 steals per game ranked seventh in the NSIC.

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Brooke Olson of Minnesota Duluth was named the NSIC North Player of the Year for the third season in a row. Kylie Hammer of Wayne State was the South’s Player of the Year.

St. Cloud State’s Drehna Evans was named the Defensive Player of the Year, and her head coach Lori Fish was named the NSIC Coach of the Year. Destinee Bursch of Minnesota State was selected as the Freshman of the Year.

Brooklyn Bachmann was a Second Team pick in 2021, joining Heittola as last year’s recipients.

BSU isn’t done yet, as the Beavers defeated Winona State 63-51 in the opening round of the NSIC Tournament on Wednesday. Bemidji State next faces Concordia-St. Paul at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, in the conference quarterfinals at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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