Led by Ziegler, women’s basketball primed for 2017-2018

The Mavericks have had a winning record in the last five out of six seasons

The Minnesota State Mavericks Women’s Basketball team begins play this week in Kansas City, Missouri. The Lady Mavs will play the Washburn Ichabods on Nov. 10 at 6:45 p.m. and Pittsburgh State on Nov. 11 at 6:45 p.m. as well. The Mavericks finished last season with a 16-11 overall record, while going 12-10 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). The Mavs were eliminated in the NCIS Tournament last season with a loss to Minnesota – Duluth and hope to improve from that loss this season.

The Mavericks enter the 2017-2018 basketball season losing only three players from last season, all of them being seniors. Britney Scherber averaged 11.7 points per game and 2.3 assists per game, while posting a 0.851 free-throw percentage lasts season. Sammie Delzotto averaged 10 points per game, 1.9 assists per game, and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 37.1 percent from the three-point line and leading the Lady Mavericks in steals on the season. Karina Schroeder averaged 11 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game, while leading the team in blocked shots and finishing second in steals on the season.

Even with the loss of three leading scorers that bring valuable components of knowledge and skill as seniors, Mavericks head coach Emilee Thiesse is looking for production by committee this season.

“We don’t look for any one or two players to shoulder that responsibility this season. We need each and every player to step-up for us to help us continue to build from where we finished last season,” stated Thiesse.

The Lady Mavs are ranked No. 7 in the NSIC Pre-Season Coaches Poll, but Thiesse believes they are better than that, citing their chemistry as the largest contributing factor.

“This team is as close of a group as we have ever had. Team chemistry is something that really sets our program apart and makes each and every day so much fun. Our leadership is largely to credit for developing that bond between our returning players and the newcomers so quickly,” said Thiesse.

Claire Ziegler will certainly be a point of emphasis for opposing teams this season, as she returns as a senior. Ziegler averaged 11.9 points per game while grabbing 7.8 rebounds per game just a year ago.

The Lady Mavs are known to play an up-tempo style, but Thiesse is hoping to expand on that much more this season.

“We are implementing a brand-new motion offense this season as well as implementing a pressure defense that will pick-up the pace of the game significantly,” noted Thiesse.

This Maverick team is traveling a little bit further than most of Minnesota State’s teams will be this season. The team had already played an exhibition game in Lincoln, Nebraska, when Minnesota State faced off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Ten. This game against Nebraska was special for a couple of reasons. First, it allowed for the MSU Women’s Basketball team to compete against Division-I athletes. The exhibition game against Nebraska was also a personal battle for Thiesse, as she squared off against her sister, Amy Williams. Williams is in her second season as head coach of the Cornhuskers, previously coaching for the University of South Dakota. This is not the first meeting between the siblings, as they previously coached against each other when Thiesse was an assistant coach at South Dakota State University and Williams was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State University. Thiesse described the game as unique and a fun opportunity to coach against her sister, but she is happy that the game ended.

“It is a little awkward coaching against my sister. We are extremely competitive individuals and there wasn’t any part of us doing anything than our very best,” added Thiesse.

Nebraska ended up defeating the Mavericks by a final score of 88-55. The Lady Mavs are scheduled to also play a tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii over Thanksgiving break. The Mavericks begin play in Hawaii on Nov. 22 against Hawaii Pacific, while playing against Chaminade University on Nov. 23.

“The Hawaii tournament has been a long-awaited trip for our program. We have been fundraising for the past few years to make this opportunity a reality. We are very fortunate to provide our players with a memorable and exciting trip that will impact their overall experience” noted Thiesse about the games in Hawaii.

Before they make the trip to Hawaii, the Mavericks will open their season at home against Black Hills State on Nov. 14 at 6:00 p.m. at the Taylor Center.

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