The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 12, 2012

BLC women's basketball team leaning on its senior leadership

By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor

MANKATO — If Bethany Lutheran College senior guard Kelsie Ammann seems a bit confused these days, there is good reason.

Ammann has been practicing regularly with the women’s basketball team but she’s not sure what position she’s going to be playing once the season starts. It could be point guard, it could be off guard or it could be both.

“At this point I’m really not sure,” Ammann said during practice last week. “I played the first semester last year at point guard and then Jade (Pelzel) transferred in and I moved to the 2 guard (off guard). Now Jade is out with an injury and I’m back to point guard.”

Ammann said she’s probably more comfortable at the 2 position but she’ll do whatever the team needs.

“Both Kelsie and Jade can play the 1 or the 2,” BLC head coach Tiffany Young Klockziem said. “And it’s good to have that flexibility because they’re probably going to play both positions. Jade will probably play mostly 1 and Kelsie 2 but we’ll mix it up according to the situation.”

Ammann is one of the top returning players from a BLC team that went 8-18 last year and qualified for the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament. She led the team in assists with 72 and also in free-throw percentage. Ammann converted 46 of 62 attempts from the foul line for 84.2 percent.

“My individual goals for this year would be to stay near the top in assists and to try to get up into the 90s in free-throw percentage,” she said. “Otherwise we just want to have fun and win as many games as we can.”

Ammann, who is a product of Lakeville North High School, was almost pre-destined to be a basketball player. Her parents founded the Minnesota School of Basketball in the metro area and she goes home every summer to help out. The school includes a week-long camp for college players.

For the last three summers, Ammann has also participated in the Lake Street YWCA’s 4-on-4 basketball league where she was joined by a number of Bethany teammates. She believes the offseason workouts began to pay off for the Vikings last season and she’s expecting more improvement this year.

Among the other top returnees for Bethany are junior Pelzl and senior Amanda Edmison. Pelzl averaged 10.6 points-per game last year and connected on 34 percent (44 of 129) of her 3-point attempts. Edmison pulled down 97 rebounds, which is third among returning players.

Sophomores Shelby Wiederhoeft and Kasslin Swenson are also expected to play big roles this season.

“They both played a lot last year as freshmen,” Young Klockziem said. “With that first season behind them I think they’re ready to step in and really help us this year.”

The coach said her main priority in the preseason is to try to replace the scoring punch of Jessica Englund and Anna Cepek, who graduated. They were the team’s top two scorers a year ago with Englund averaging 17 ppg and Cepek about 10 ppg.

“That’s 27 points a game we have to make up,” Young Klockziem said. “I think we have the talent to do it. I think our defense is going to be able to create some points this year, too.”

The Vikings open the season Friday at the Cornell Tournament in Mount Vernon, Iowa.