WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Appicelli set to face hometown Warriors
BEMIDJI -- Basketball fans in Winona are certainly familiar with Mia Appicelli, but they'll be getting a new look from her this weekend. Appicelli and the Bemidji State women's basketball team, which is off to its best conference start since 2012...
BEMIDJI -- Basketball fans in Winona are certainly familiar with Mia Appicelli, but they’ll be getting a new look from her this weekend.
Appicelli and the Bemidji State women’s basketball team, which is off to its best conference start since 2012-13, will play host to Upper Iowa and Winona State in hopes of continuing its success. But for Appicelli -- a Winona native -- things will feel a little different than usual.
“It’ll be interesting because I’ve grown up (watching) them,” the freshman guard said of WSU. “I know that they’re really good and very skilled. It’ll be interesting to see how we match up with them.”
Appicelli came to BSU (3-6, 2-3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) after back-to-back appearances in the Class 3A title game for Winona High School. She’s now primed for another Winona matchup, but in Bemidji State green for the first time.
“There will be a lot more to it because my family is obviously big fans of Winona State,” Appicelli said of a potential win. “They’re really excited to watch… It’d be really cool to know that we can compare and match up with a really good team and pull off the W.”
Before the Beavers host the Warriors, though, they’ll take on Upper Iowa -- where head coach Chelsea DeVille is keeping her team’s focus.
“Our focus right now is just on Upper Iowa,” DeVille said. “We’re going to get their best effort. Coming out of Christmas break, we had a good week of practice. Now, it’s just putting it to work on Saturday.”
The Beavers are also vying for their first three-game win streak among home conference games in nearly a decade. The last time it happened, Bemidji State rattled off four straight victories in the BSU Gymnasium between Nov. 30, 2007, and Jan. 11, 2008.
“Any win, it means a lot. It doesn’t matter how they come or when they come,” DeVille said. “It’s nice to be at home, not traveling. We’re hoping that we can play well against Upper Iowa and then refocus against Winona.”
The weekend series begins at 1:30 p.m. today when the Beavers face the Peacocks (2-10, 0-6 NSIC), and it will wrap up against the Warriors (9-1, 5-1 NSIC) at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31.
And with two games left before 2018 hits, Appicelli is hopeful that Bemidji State rings in the new year with a fresh pair of victories.
“It’s really awesome to get any win. So getting two in a row would really help,” she said. “We have lots of energy. It gets us really excited, and hopefully it carries over to the games so we can continue working hard.”