Women’s Basketball tips off long-anticipated 2021 season versus Mavericks

Women’s Basketball tips off long-anticipated 2021 season versus Mavericks
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Women’s Basketball tips off long-anticipated 2021 season versus Mavericks

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University women’s basketball program finally opens its 2020-21 season with a non-conference doubleheader Saturday, Jan. 2 and Sunday, Jan. 3 against Minnesota State University, Mankato at BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers enter their 54th season as a program and the sixth under Head Coach Chelsea DeVille.

The Series vs. Minnesota State

  • Minnesota State leads the all-time series against Bemidji State, 34-13.
  • MSU has won 10 straight games in the series, including an 84-62 victory in the most recent game against BSU on Feb. 8, 2020, in Mankato, Minn.
  • In the most recent meeting, junior Claire Wolhowe led the Beavers in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting overall and 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Junior Trinity Myer added 14 points while junior Molly Wenner scored a career-high 12 points off the bench.
  • The last win by BSU over MSU came on Jan. 20, 2012, 72-71, in Bemidji.
  • The series began in 1976, a 48-41 win by Bemidji State.

Fast Break Bemidji State

  • According to available records, Jan. 2 is the latest the Beavers have begun a season since opening the 1971-72 season against Mayville State University on Jan. 19 under Head Coach Ruth Howe. The latest known start for Bemidji State was a Jan. 23 game to begin the 1970-71 season against Concordia College (Moorhead).
  • The Beavers are 4-1 in season-openers under DeVille, 4-1 in home openers, and 1-4 when facing an NSIC team for the first time.
  • Bemidji State comes off the 2019-20 season in which it recorded the program’s most overall wins since 2013-14 and the most conference wins since 2012-13.
  • The team brought in five true freshmen to the roster, including three guards (Sam Pogatchnik, Amme Sheforgen, Lily Weimann), one forward (Jana Swanson), and one center (Jenna Anderson).
  • The Beavers return two All-NSIC student-athletes, including All-NSIC Second Team selection Trinity Myer and NSIC All-Freshman Team member Rachael Heittola. Heittola was selected as BSU’s 2020-21 Player to Watch.
  • Myer led BSU in points, assists, and steals per game last season while ranking third in the NSIC in assists per game. She also ranked third in the conference in free throw attempts, seventh in total assists and steals per game, and 12th in free throws made. Myer is just the second Beaver since 2014 to earn All-NSIC honors and has played in all 55 games for BSU over the last two seasons.
  • Heittola averaged 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during her freshman season and finished the 2019-20 season with three straight games with at least 10 rebounds. She also became the first Beaver with a 30-point game since the 2016-17 season. Heittola is the program's active leader in double-doubles with three.
  • Bemidji State outshot its opponents in 15 of 27 games last season, including 11 of 22 NSIC regular-season contests. The Beavers finished the season shooting .423 from the field, the highest percentage for the program since the 2007-08 season. BSU also outshot its opponents from behind the 3-point arc in 14 games. The Beavers’ .352 3-point field goal percentage is the highest for the program since the 1999-2000 season.
  • Last season, BSU was one of the best in the conference in offense and defense behind the arc, ranking fourth offensively shooting 35.2 percent and fourth defensively allowing opponents to shoot 31.7 percent from 3-point range. Junior forward Claire Wolhowe led BSU in 3-point shooting, which ranked eighth in the nation shooting 46.6 percent.
  • Bemidji State was voted to finish sixth in the NSIC North Division, as the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll was released mid-December. The conference poll was split into divisions without an overall poll, as the 2020-21 season will crown only North Division and South Division champions. BSU received 22 points in the preseason coaches’ poll, which lands the team behind Northern State University in fifth with 23 points and ahead of Minot State University in seventh with 11 points.

Scouting Minnesota State

  • Minnesota State finished the 2019-20 season with an 18-11 mark and advanced to the NSIC Tournament Semifinal before a season-ending loss to the University of Minnesota Duluth, 80-77. The Mavericks earned wins in seven of its final nine games of the season.
  • Head Coach Emilee Thiesse enters her ninth season with the program in 2020-21 with an overall record of 140-91, including two NCAA Tournament appearances during the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons. She holds a 106-70 record in NSIC play.
  • Minnesota State returns 12 players this season, including the team leader in scoring (10.3 ppg), rebounds (6.2 rpg), and blocked shots (1.3 bpg), junior center Kristi Fett. Senior forwards Brooke Tonsfeldt (4.7 rpg) and Rachel Shumski (4.7 rpg) return to the lineup after finishing tied for second in rebounds per game.
  • MSU was selected to finish first in the NSIC South Division with 43 points and three first-place votes in the NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
  • Senior guard Tayla Stuttley was named the Mavericks’ Player to Watch after leading the team in 3-pointers made over the last two seasons. She also led the squad in assists in 2019-20.

For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit BSUBeavers.com, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), or like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers).

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).