ANOTHER ROSTER MAKEOVER
Like Minnesota, North Dakota State is undergoing a makeover. Last season’s 11-18 record (7-11 in the Summit League) and a 6th place conference finish was a step back from the previous season’s 15-9 (9-7 conference) 3rd place finish. Bison head coach Jory Collins, now entering his 4th year, said he’d like to play “faster” and thinks he’s added the players to do so. Given that NDSU has played two games (Montana and Valley City) the answer will be revealed well after the impending Gopher visit.
NDSU returned twice as many players, six, as the Gophers. But the Bison ability to play faster will depend on eight newbies which include four freshmen and four transfers. Let’s start with 6’3” freshman guard Elle Evans. The Illinois native had an immediate impact in the season opening 65-63 win over Montana. Evans’ jumper tied the game at 63 with :30 seconds remaining and then she provided the winning margin by draining two foul shots with :08 seconds to go. Evans started the game and contributed 10 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds in 21 foul limited minutes. So far, so good.
As for the impact transfers, there are a couple of players we saw play last year in Williams Arena. 6’1” forward Taylor Brown (from Lakeville) arrived in Fargo from American University. Brown put up 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds against the Gophers in Americans 54-73 loss to Minnesota. In her NDSU debut she had 5 points and 4 rebounds starting against Montana.
The other transfer appearing last season at Williams is Abbie Draper. The 6’2” forward played for Bradley and contributed 2 points and 7 rebounds in Bradley’s 54-73 loss to Minnesota. Nevertheless, the remainder of Draper’s season went well enough for her to be named to the Missouri Valley All Freshman Team. In the Bison opener, the Iowa native came off the bench to score 12 points on 4-4 shooting from three. Draper had 13 points versus NAIA Valley City State in the Bison’s second outing.
The star returnee for NDSU is 5’8” senior guard, Heaven Hamling. The Grand Rapids native started her college career at Stephan F Austin State and transferred north following her freshman season. She was the Summit League Newcomer of the Year in 2020-21 and an all-league honorable mention last season. This season Hamling was a pre-season All Summit League First Team selection (along with Kacie Borwicz of North Dakota). The Bison attack runs through Hamling. Against Montana, she had 19 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Versus Valley City Hamling dropped 21 points in 22 minutes and called it a night.
Another returnee is 6’2” junior forward, Emily Behnke. The Wisconsin native delivered 10 points and 9 rebounds against Montana.
The final returning starter is Abby Schulte from Maple Grove. The 5’10” junior guard contributed 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 turnovers in the Bison opener.
There is an international contingent. Leah Mackenzie and Georgia Baldwin are from Australia, Marwa Bedziri is from Sweden and Kristina Ekofo Yomane from Brussels.
North Dakota State was picked for 5th in the Summit League preseason poll trailing SDSU, South Dakota, Oral Roberts and North Dakota. So, the Bison aren’t expected to make a big leap with their faster tempo. And their narrow victory over Montana, like the Gopher win over Lehigh, was both exhilarating and worrisome. Makeovers rarely occur overnight.
Given Lehigh’s success versus Minnesota, how are the Bison from behind the arc?
They went 14-38 (.368) in their first two games.
Are the Bison roster heights for real or do they need to recalibrate their measuring device?
GOPHERS VERSUS NORTH DAKOTA STATE
Minnesota is 6-1 against the Bison. The last meeting was at Williams Arena in November 2011 with the Gophers winning 80-41. The embarrassing loss occurred in December 2006. NDSU defeated Minnesota 48-62 in Fargo. Katie Ohm with 12 points was the only Gopher in double figures.
Heaven Hamling First Two Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Montana 19 4 6 37 1 Valley City (NAIA) 21 5 4 22 1
Emily Behnke First Two Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Montana 6 9 0 24 3 Valley City 9 3 0 15 3
Probable Starters with Last Year’s Stats:
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 5’9” G Sr Heaven Hamling 34.4 12.1 4.3 6’3” G Fr Elle Evans 6’2” F Jr Emily Behnke 12.8 3.0 3.8 6’1” F GS Taylor Brown 33.5 10.2 4.3 5’10” G Jr Abby Schulte 26.9 7.1 2.6
Others With Last Years Stats:
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 6’2” F So Abbie Draper 23.5 5.7 3.7 6’2” F So Katie Hildenbrandt 14.2 3.5 1.9 5’10” G Fr Abby Graham 6’0” F Jr Georgia Baldwin
just an update on this, Whalen said on pregame she got hurt in the Lehigh game but played thru it, sounds like they thought she might be able to play tonight so hopefully she dont miss much time.seems like she musta sprained her ankle in practice the last couple days
sorry but Katie needs to stop always looking for her shot and set up the offense and run the offense.. 2-10 tonight..Poor shooting so far, defense keeping the gophers in the lead. 0-7 from three.
Down by 1 at halftime after a bad shot and poor defense in the last play of the game.
Hoops- Did the coaching staff mess up Braun's ankle? Did the coaching staff miss 9 FTs? Did the coaching staff get out-rebounded? Did the coaching staff ask Katie B. to shoot 5-17 (1-7)?We are, maybe, a middling Summit League team or we are, maybe, coached by a middling Summit League coach.
At five years in, you are what your coaching record says you are.Hoops- Did the coaching staff mess up Braun's ankle? Did the coaching staff miss 9 FTs? Did the coaching staff get out-rebounded? Did the coaching staff ask Katie B. to shoot 5-17 (1-7)?
The coaches certainly have some responsibility because they recruited the players but, at some point, the blame has to be placed on those who lace up the sneaks. Coaches always get the blame but execution if on the players.
It's the start of the fifth year. The vaunted top 10 rated class is just getting started. The most ready of the frosh and one of the leading scorers in the nation is unexpectedly unavailable. If Whalen fails to produce within the next two years, I can certainly see a change being made.At five years in, you are what your coaching record says you are.