The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 31, 2013

College Basketball Notebook

To be successful, Minnesota State women’s basketball coach Emilee Thiesse said her team needs to dictate pace.

Not with offense, though, it’s the defense.

“We have the most success when were able to deny and pressure the ball and force teams out of what they’re trying to do,” she said. “I thought we did a good job of that in the two games last weekend. When we can get after teams on defense, that feeds our transition game.”

The Mavericks (14-4, 10-4 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) play league games tonight at Mary in Bismarck (13-7, 8-6) and Saturday at Minot State (9-9, 5-9). Minnesota State is 10-0 at Bresnan Arena, but 4-4 on the road.

“We just need to be aggressive,” Thiesse said. “We also have to work on our rebounding. It doesn’t do any good to get stops if you’re going to give up second-chance opportunities. We’ve been working on that a lot in practice.”

The Mavericks are outrebounding opponents by about 1 per game and have forced more than 100 more turnovers than they’ve committed. Minnesota State has outscored teams by 7.5 points in second halves.

With just eight games remaining in the regular season, the Mavericks are one game out of first place in the South Division, tied with Augustana, which they swept this season.

“I think with our leadership, the kids understand the urgency,” Thiesse said. “Last year, they made a good push at the end (of the season) so they understand of what it takes.”

Minnesota State men

The Mavericks (16-2, 12-2) will put on a few bus miles this weekend. The team left for Bismarck, N.D., on Thursday morning, where it will play Mary tonight. The team will bus to Minot on Saturday morning and return to Bismarck late Saturday night. The team will then return to Mankato sometime Sunday.

The trip will cover more than 1,200 miles.

“We’re leaving early so we can get up there and have a good night’s sleep and have a shootaround (this morning) and be ready to go,” coach Matt Margenthaler said. “The kids can get some sleep, watch movies and do their homework (on the bus.).”

The Mavericks slipped into a tie for first place with Winona State in the South Division, coming off an overtime home loss to Augustana. Margenthaler said that everybody is healthy for the longest road trip of the season, and the team had a good week of practice.

“Mentally, we just need to have great focus,” he said. “We have to pay attention to detail because when we do that, we’re pretty good. When we don’t, we can be beaten.”

Gustavus Adolphus

The women’s team (12-7, 11-5) has lost four of the last five games to slip to fifth in the MIAC. Abby Rothenbuehler leads the team in scoring (12.5 points), rebounds (8.2) and blocked shots (34). Karina Schroeder is shooting 55.5 percent from the field and 71.0 percent on free throws, averaging 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds.

The men’s team (11-9, 8-7) ended a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a victory over St. Mary’s. Blake Shay had a career-high 20 points in the win. As a team, the Gusties are shooting 50.5 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from 3-point range and 76.1 percent on free throws.

Bethany Lutheran

The men’s team (7-11, 5-3) is shooting 71.9 percent from the free-throw line, paced by Alex Weldon (82.8 percent) and Derek Peterson (81.1 percent). The Vikings have four more rebounds and 34 fewer turnovers than opponents.

The women’s team (5-14, 3-5) is led by Jade Pelzl, who is averaging 14.1 points. She had made 52 3-pointers, avering 2.7 per game. Shelby Wiederhoeft is still averaging a double-double, with 12.4 points and 10.8 assists.

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