ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Bemidji State University women’s basketball team was selected to finish twelfth in the 2008-09 NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll released today by the league office. Senior guard Heidi Matzke (Red Lake Falls, Minn.) was picked as a 2008-09 NSIC Player to Watch in the same poll.
Matzke played in all 28 games earning 27 starts last year for the Beavers as she earned All-NSIC Third Team honors. She averaged 30.7 minutes per game and was second on the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game. She scored in double figures in 21 contests including a career-high 32 versus Minnesota, Crookston (2/10/08) after which she was named NSIC Player of the Week.
Minnesota State University’s Heather Johnson (Janesville, Minn.) was named the 2008-09 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year after a junior campaign in which she started all 32 games leading the Mavericks to a 23-9 record and their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1985-86. She led MSU with 16.9 points per tilt and set a Maverick record hitting 81 three point shots in a season as well as the MSU record for consecutive free throws made with 33. The All-NCC performer recorded double-digit points in 29 of 32 games last season including a career-high 31 points against Central Missouri on Dec. 1, 2007.
Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) newcomer, Minnesota State University pulled down 11 first place votes and 179 points to grab the top spot. Augustana was the only other team to receive a first place vote as they earned the second spot with 169 points and three first place votes.
NSIC regular season and tournament champions the last two seasons, Concordia-St. Paul held down the third spot with 161 points. Winona State was picked to finish fourth with 130 points with Wayne State (Neb.) on the Warriors heels in fifth place with 125 points. The University of Mary edged out Minnesota State University, Moorhead for the sixth spot. The Marauders received 120 total points while the Dragons slid into the seventh spot with 108 points. St. Cloud State was just four points behind the Dragons in the eighth spot with 104 total points. Southwest Minnesota State University earned 91 for the ninth place finish with Minnesota Duluth rounded out the top ten with 71 points.
Northern State edged Bemidji State for the eleventh spot with 68 points while the Beavers tallied 62 total points for the twelfth spot. Minnesota, Crookston and Upper Iowa round out the final two spots in the 2008-09 poll with 36 and 32 points, respectively.
Under the direction of head coach Mike Curfman, who is in his fourth year at the helm of the BSU women’s basketball program, the Beavers roster is made up of seven returners and eight newcomers.
The Beavers will have its first taste of competition with an exhibition contest on Nov. 16 when the team travels to NCAA Division I member South Dakota for a 1 p.m. match-up with the Coyotes. The Beavers open their season on Nov. 21-22 when they travel to St. Paul, Minn. to play in the Concordia-St. Paul Tournament. The Beavers will play Metro State University on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. and will wrap up the tournament on Nov. 22 versus Wisconsin-La Crosse at 2 p.m.
2008-09 Preseason NSIC Coaches Poll
1. Minnesota State - 179 (11)
2. Augustana - 169 (3)
3. Concordia-St. Paul - 161
4. Winona State - 130
5. Wayne State - 125
6. University of Mary - 120
7. MSU Moorhead - 108
8. St. Cloud State - 104
9. Southwest Minnesota State - 91
10. Minnesota Duluth - 71
11. Northern State - 68
12. Bemidji State - 62
13. Minnesota, Crookston - 36
14. Upper Iowa - 32
2008-09 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year
Heather Johnson (Sr., G, Minnesota State)