Finding an open teammate has always been more exciting than scoring for senior guard Shannon Thompson of the Bemidji State women’s basketball team. Her unselfish play, ability to take care of the basketball and tenacious defense has her set-up to be on BSU’s career assist and steal lists when her time is done in the green and white. Last season, Thompson flourished in the starting role and finished eighth or better in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in steals, assists and assist/turnover ratio. With more offensive weapons this season, Thompson hopes to build on her junior year success and help the team win more games in 2012-13.
BSUBeavers.com sat down with the senior from Rosemount, Minn. and talked about her career, this season and her future. (This Q&A session appeared in the basketball game program Dec. 14-15).
Why Bemidji State?
I like the culture, the lake and the scenery up here. It’s different than being in the cities. There is a lot less to do up here, but I like that because I got to connect to my teammates more than if there was more stuff to do.
How was the transition from high school ball to Division II?
It was a pretty big difference. The pace is a lot faster than high school, but I had good teammates that helped lead the way. Sam Baldwin and Sydney Epema were pretty much the ones who took us under their wing and taught us everything we needed to know.
How was the transition from being a role player to an upperclassman starter?
I think the experience I got the two years before helped that and knowing my teammates are looking up to me. Knowing I am one of the older ones on the team, that helped a lot too.
What does it take to be a 1-2 guard that has a lot of assists and steals?
Seeing the court well, is a key part of that. To make the right pass instead of the flashy pass, seeing where my teammates are, find who is scoring and try to get them the ball. If somebody is hot, I try to run a play to get them an open shot.
What do you enjoy more, driving the hole or dishing the ball out for an assist?
I like passing and having someone else get the basket because it feels rewarding sharing the ball and knowing it’s a team game.
Is it fun being part of someone’s success on the court?
Yeah, I like seeing someone light it up on the floor and knowing they are doing a good job and that I can help them by making a good pass and getting them a shot in rhythm.
What is it that makes you successful on the defensive end?
I think it’s because I guard the ball handler and that I can sneak up on them when they are passing the ball inbounds. I get a lot of steals that way. Just playing tight defense close to the person because I know it’s kind of uncomfortable when someone is playing so close, so I try doing that back at them.
How has it been getting players back from injury and adding the new players?
It’s been fun. Everyone is a year older and I have played with most of them for a couple years. It’s good having Lanae join us because she is fast and can put the ball in the hole and Melissa is a good shooter. They both have experience playing college basketball. They are nice additions to our team.
What are your expectations for the year?
I want to win a lot of games. We haven’t had that great of a record since I have been here, so I want to turn that around. I know we get to make conference playoffs this year, but our goal is to get a home game for the first playoff game.
Personally, do you have any numbers expectations for yourself?
I want to go out and contribute. I want to take care of the ball, so it is a personal goal not to have too many turnovers and I want to have more assists than turnovers.
So, rumor is you have a lot of opportunities to fly, why is that and where have you visited?
My dad works for Delta, so I get to fly for free. I’ve been to Paris, France, Rome, Greece, almost every state in the U.S. I visit Mary Graham in Alaska once or twice in the summer. I go to Hawaii. I just like to see what flights are open and hop on.
Where is your favorite place to go?
Hawaii is my all-time favorite place. I have been there nine or ten times. I like it so much, I keep going back instead of picking somewhere new to go.
Are you able to get friends to go with you?
My friends have come on a couple trips with me and my family or I go on spring break with people on our basketball team. If we play in the cities some of us fly back to Bemidji.
Do people dislike you from the benefit that you have?
(Smiling) I don’t know. Some of them ask for buddy passes because my dad has those, so I can help them get back home if they need to or if they have a loss in their family, I help them out if it’s needed.
What is your major and what are your future plans?
My major is physical education and health, I have a minor in DAPE and I am getting my coaching specialist. I think I would like to coach or be a teacher at the elementary or high school level. Being an athletic director would be a fun job too.
For more information on the Bemidji State women’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BemidjiStateWBB or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BemidjiStateWomen’sBasketball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).