The Bemidji State University women's basketball team will take on South Dakota State University on Thursday at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D. at 7 p.m. The Jackrabbits have made consecutive NCAA Division I tournament appearances after winning the Summit League Championship two years in a row.
PG 21 Shannon Thompson, So., 5-7, Rosemount, Minn.
SG 20 Anna Hebrink, Sr., 5-8, Austin, Minn.
3G 5 Samantha Baldwin, Jr., 5-7, St. Thomas, N.D.
PF 54 Jessie Althoff, So., 6-1, Becker, Minn.
C 45 Colleen McKay, Sr., 6-0, Barnum, Minn.
South Dakota State
PG 10 Jill Young, Jr., 5-8, Mitchell, S.D.
SG 14 Kristin Rotert, Sr., 6-0, Salem, S.D.
3G 30 Ashley Eide, So., 5-9, Sioux Falls, S.D.
SF 31 Jennie Sunnarborg, Jr., 6-2, Osseo, Minn.
PF 21 Leah Dietel, So., 6-1, Jordan, Minn.
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are coming off their second-consecutive NCAA Division I Tournament berth after capturing back-to-back Summit League Championships. The Jackrabbits lost to Oklahoma in the first round of the tournament last season. A year prior SDSU made a run to the second round of the tournament with a win over TCU. In the second round the fifth-ranked Jackrabbits fell just short of an upset over second-seed Baylor.
Kristin Rotert (Sr., G/F, Salem, S.D.) returns to lead the Jackrabbits in 2010-11. Rotert, an honorable mention All-Summit League selection the last two seasons, averaged 12.6 points and 3.8 rebounds last season. Rotert scored a team-high 29 points in the team’s exhibition opener against NSIC member St. Cloud State last week. Joining Rotert as returning starters are Macie Michelson (Sr., G, Lynd, Minn.) and Jill Young (Jr., G, Mitchell, S.D.). Key reserve Jennie Sunnarborg (Jr., F, Osseo, Minn.) also returns. Sunnarborg tallied 17 second-half points against the Huskies.
SDSU shot 38.2 percent from beyond the arc a season ago. Rotert has the most makes and attempts of any Jackrabbit gunner last year making 38.5 percent from long range. Michelson and Sunnarborg also return as proficient options for Coach Johnston from beyong the arc. Michelson shot 36.5 percent, while Sunnarborg was a 38.5 percent shooter from long range. In the paint, the Jackrabbits graduated their top option in Maria Boever who led the team with 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Leah Dietel (So., F, Jordan, Minn.) got the start at the post against St. Cloud State. She tallied five points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Huskies.
The Bemidji State University women’s basketball team has a lot of reasons to be excited as they get set to commence the 2010-11 season. The Beavers return almost everyone to their roster following a much improved season in 2009-10. The Beavers used a core of returning players supplemented by strong play from several new bodies to improve their standing after finishing in last place a year prior.
“I think there is a lot of optimism coming into this season,” said head coach Mike Curfman. “Last year we played a lot of young players and had a lot of young players step up. We had a big improvement last year, not only in wins but in getting back to where we have been competition wise. It was fun to see.”
Combine the excitement surrounding a strong group of returnees with the arrival of several impact recruits to Bemidji ready to being their collegiate careers and you can understand the excitement felt by Coach Curfman and his staff.
“The same core we had last year returns,” Curfman said. “Only one senior (Kim Rosecrans) graduated from our team last year. We feel that the players coming back along with the amount of pressure that we feel will be put on them by the newcomers will help build on the momentum we had last year and help carry us through as we try to bring the program to the next level.”