The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 30, 2012

College Basketball Notebook

MANKATO — Minnesota State women’s basketball coach Emilee Thiesse has had the preseason and three games to learn some things about her team.

She now begins the four-month process of learning about the other Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference programs.

“I’m really pleased with where we’re at this early in the season,” Thiesse said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited. The Northern Sun is a league where you have to show up every night so we need to get better at both ends of the court.”

The Mavericks (3-0) host Concordia-St. Paul (2-2) in the conference opener at 5 p.m. today at Bresnan Arena. The Mavericks are coming off a 93-56 victory over Gustavus Adolphus in which they made 17 3-pointers, bumping their season shooting to 50.8 percent from the field and 45.9 percent on 3-pointers for 87.7 points per game.

“Our depth has been a pleasant surprise,” Thiesse said. “We need to use a lot of players to play the style we want to, and the kids coming off the bench have played well. We’ve really shot the ball well. We don’t want to settle for being a jump-shooting team, but it’s nice that we’re making them.”

Junior center Ali Wilkinson, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, is averaging 14.0 points and 9.3 rebounds. Aubrey Davis, Jamie Bresnahan and Karlee Gengenbacher are all averaging 10 points.

Thiesse said her concerns are on the defensive end. So far, the Mavericks are holding opponents to 40.3 percent shooting and 60.7 points. However, opponents have been to the free-throw line 76 times to the Mavericks’ 48.

“We need to guard the ball and guard the basket better,” she said. “We’ve fouled a lot so we need to clean up a few things. We want to be aggressive and force turnovers, but we can’t give up so many free throws.”

Minnesota State men

The Mavericks (4-0) will be trying to end a seven-game conference losing streak against Concordia-St. Paul. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bresnan Arena.

Minnesota State is averaging 88.2 points, with a different leading scorer in each of the four games. Jarvis Williams leads the team with 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, while Connor O’Brien is adding 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds.

The Mavericks hold a 12-5 advantage in this series, but the Bears have won the last three.

Gustavus Adolphus

Senior Abby Rothenbuehler had 23 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots and two steals as the women’s team opened MIAC play with a 63-52 victory at Augsburg. The Gusties (2-2) are on the road again at 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Benedict.

Rothenbuehler is averaging 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds with 12 blocked shots. Julia Dysthe is averaging 11.0 points, with Kelsey Florian at 10.5.

The men’s team (1-2) dropped its MIAC opener to Augsburg on Wednesday and hosts St. John’s at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Guard Ben Biewen is averaging 18.7 points, just ahead of Jim Hill at 18.3 points. Biewen also leads the team with 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The Gusties are shooting 50.6 percent from the field but have 15 less attempts than opponent. Gustavus is minus-7 in rebounding through three games.

Bethany Lutheran

The Vikings’ men’s team (2-3) plays a nonconference game at Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 5 p.m. Saturday. Gavin Kroehler is averaging 12.2 points and 4.6 rebounds, while Garet Tucker has come off the bench with 10.6 points and 3.4 rebounds. Garrett Benson is 8 of 11 from 3-point range.

The women’s team (1-3) is off until Tuesday’s nonconference game at Waldorf. Jade Pelzl is averaging 16.5 points and shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range. Kasslin Swenson is averaging 10.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, while Shelby Wiederhoeft is adding 9.0 points and 8.8 rebounds. Bethany is shooting 35.4 percent from 3-point range but only 30.1 percent inside the arc.

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