WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Distractions aside, BSU ready to compete in regular season opener
BEMIDJI -- With plenty of distractions all around, Bemidji State women's basketball head coach Chelsea DeVille and her team are only focused on themselves.
BEMIDJI - With plenty of distractions all around, Bemidji State women’s basketball head coach Chelsea DeVille and her team are only focused on themselves.
DeVille, the team’s first-year head coach, is still fresh off a move from the University of Sioux Falls, where she was an assistant coach for six years. She’s also been in contact with potential recruits for the program - five of whom were signed on Wednesday.
The current players, meanwhile, are working on adjusting from two 20-minute halves to four 10-minute quarters, a new NCAA rule that is in its first season.
Yet, despite all of the outside noise, BSU is muting it all while gearing up for Saturday’s season opener against Crown College. Tipoff ios scheduled for 6 p.m. at the BSU gymnasium.
“This is one of those games where, honestly, we’re the bigger team, a little stronger in most of the positions,” DeVille said. “So we really are gonna focus on just us.”
The Beavers are coming off two exhibition wins over Lakehead University on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. In the first game, Tatum Sheley led BSU with 20 points, helping to spark the offensive to a 21-0 fourth quarter run. The run was all that Bemidji State needed to secure a 79-67 win.
The following day, Sierra Senske had a 20-point performance of her own, and added 10 rebounds, to lead the Beavers to a 70-64 victory.
“Defensively we’ve just gotten better,” DeVille said. “I think we’ll be in good shape to play well, and it’ll be exciting to kinda just see actually what we’ve been working on.”
Bemidji State finished last year with a 6-22 record, but DeVille is hopeful that the two exhibition wins will jump start the team this season.
“They’re excited and they’re hungry to play somebody else and hopefully go beat up on somebody.”
The Beavers are matching up with Division III opponent Crown College for the first time in program history. The Storm are coming off a 3-22 record from a year ago, a season in which they scored 48.1 points-per-game.
Senske will return as BSU’s leading scorer and rebounder from last season, when she scored 14.3 points-per-game and hauled in 5.8 rebounds-per-game. Aimee Pelzer and Sheley will also return with double-digit scoring averages, tallying 10.8 and 10.1 points-per-game, respectively.
Though the Beavers return three double-digit scorers, they still have to prove themselves in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. After a 2-12 conference finish last season, Bemidji State was picked to finish 15th out of 16 teams in the NSIC. And yet the low expectation is just more noise that BSU is ignoring.
To have success on the court, DeVille said, it all starts with energy, and she doesn’t think that is out of reach.
“No team is good enough to not have that high-intensity level,” DeVille said. “I think our kids have taken leaps and bounds.”
Although there is plenty to distract BSU from Saturday’s matchup, DeVille is clear about her team’s approach.
“We are the bigger team,” she said. “It’s about us.”
Beavers add five recruits
DeVille has brought in her first group of recruits with five signees for the 2016-17 season, the team announced in a press release Wednesday.
Sydney Arrington, Allyson Dahl, BriAnna Karg, Shaice Marx and McKayla Scheuer will don the Beaver uniform after signing their National Letters of Intent to play at Bemidji State.
Arrington, a 6-foot forward from Sioux Falls, S.D., has averaged 15.3 points-per-game and 5.8 rebounds-per-game through her junior season. She is a six-time letter winner and has helped her team earn back-to-back state championships.
Dahl is a 5-foot-10-inch guard out of Newfolden and is a transfer student from Northland Community and Technical College, where she shot 40.1 perfect from beyond the arc - good enough for seventh best in the nation. Dahl scored 15.1 points-per-game at NCTC and also scored 820 points in her high school career.
BriAnna Karg, a 6-footer from White Bear Lake, averaged 8.4 points-per-game her junior season. She was also named to the All-Suburban East Conference team.
Shaice Marx, a 5-foot-9-inch guard from Thompson, N.D., has made three straight state tournament appearances for the Tommies from 2013-15. She has also added the defensive player of the year award to her accomplishments.
McKayla Scheuer, a 5-foot-8-inch guard from Marshfield, Wis., rounds out the group. Scheuer averaged 12.4 points-per-game last season, and also shot 88 percent from the free throw line.