By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer
Minnesota State women’s basketball coach Emilee Thiesse wasn’t at the arena last weekend to see what junior Ali Wilkinson accomplished, but she’s seen enough in practice to not be surprised.
“There’s not a lot of pressure on her right now,” Thiesse said. “She has a lot of players around her that are capable of doing things, and the other players know how to get her the ball where she can be effective.”
The Mavericks (6-0, 3-0 in conference) make their first road trip in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this weekend, playing at Southwest Minnesota State tonight and Sioux Falls on Saturday.
Wilkinson, this week’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference player of the week, is averaging 19.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, shooting 64.1 percent from the field, 60.0 percent from 3-point range and 86.1 percent on free throws.
She leads the conference in scoring and rebounding. In her last three games, Wilkinson has scored 77 points with 34 rebounds. In her career, she has 696 points and 502 rebounds.
And she’s coming off major knee surgery just slightly more than one year ago.
The Mavericks have a chance to go to the holidays with an undefeated record. After games against Southwest (1-7) and Sioux Falls (4-3) and a nonconference game against Dakota State (3-7), the team will have a two-week break.
On the road, you need to be aggressive and physical defensively,” Thiesse said. “Offensively, we have to do a better job of getting to the free-throw line.”
Thiesse will be back on the bench after missing last weekend’s game after the birth of her daughter.
Minnesota State men
The Mavericks (6-1, 2-1 in Northern Sun) are coming off their first loss, a last-second home loss to Upper Iowa.
Senior forward Jarvis Williams has three double-doubles in seven games, averaging 11.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. On Saturday, Assem Marei had 17 points and 12 rebounds, raising his season averages to 12.0 points and 6.9 rebounds.
The women’s team (6-2, 5-0 in MIAC) ran its winning streak to five straight and don’t play again until Jan. 2 at home against St. Mary’s. Kelsey Florian has at least one point, rebound and assist in every game, averaging 10.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Only twice this season has an opponent shot better than 36 percent from the field against the Gusties.
The men’s team (2-5, 1-3), which has lost five of the last six games, is off until the Wisconsin-Eau Claire tournament Dec. 28-29. Jim Hill has scored at least 13 points in each game, averaging 16.7 points. He’s coming off his first double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds against Buena Vista.
The men’s team (2-7) has lost its last three games by a combined 9 points. The Vikings are shooting only 43.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on 3-pointers. Bethany has outrebounded opponents by one for the season but have 93 offensive boards, compared to 86 for opponents. Bethany plays at Carleton tonight.
The women’s team (1-6) had lost four straight heading into Thursday’s home game against Dubuque. Jade Pelzl has made 19 3-pointers in seven games. Kasslin Swenson has 31 points in the last two games to raise her scoring average to 10.9 points. The Vikings play Saturday at home against Wisconsin-Superior.