Defense continues to fuel the winning streak

The Minnesota State women’s basketball team is back in action against Minot State University Friday. 

Last time out for the Mavs was a 100-49 victory of the University of Minnesota Crookston. Despite getting to the 100-point mark for the second time this season, head coach Emilee Thiesse believes their huge scoring output started with their stellar defense. 

“We just had a real defensive focus in that game. They have a really talented point guard, and so all week we had been really focused on how to take her out of her game. So I think when we have that type of focus as a team, it seems to click on both ends of the floor,” Thiesse said. 

The Mavs forced Minnesoata Crookston to commit 42 turnovers. Commitment to the defensive side of the game is something the Mavs look for when recruiting. 

“We pumped that up with recruits on their ability to impact players in that defensive system, but it really zeros into the type of players that we bring into this program. That’s 90% of our focus and practices too. So I think that’s why we have such a good buy in,” Thiesse said. 

Along with trying to find players that will be able to learn the team’s defensive system, there is also another specific quality that is wanted by the program. 

“I would say one of the biggest ones is anticipation. You just can’t be as successful and how frantic our defense is, if you react. You have to be able to dictate and take some risks. That’s another big part, how willing are they to kind of go outside their comfort zone and be ready to be a playmaker out there,” Thiesse said. 

The win against Crookston extended their winning streak to 10 games. This winning streak is off the back of some struggles at the beginning of the season. Injured players getting healthy again helped the Mavs get back on track.

“Getting healthy bodies back certainly has helped with our rotation, filling people into roles a lot better. Also kind of with a system like ours, that has very little continuity and very much about anticipation, and kind of that freedom. It takes time to really kind of get the intricacies of learning how to play off of each other and learning. We change our defense every year. So it’s not uncharacteristic of us to take a little time to kind of get into it because we’re constantly changing how we do things within it,” Thiesse said. 

As for the Mavs’ upcoming matchup with Minot State, the Beavers have shown themselves to be a difficult opponent due to the way they handle the team’s full-court press. 

“Minot is a team that we’ve had a lot of battles with, mostly because of the way they handle our full court pressure. Teams that we can kind of get rattled and get them to play fast, those are the teams we have a lot of success with. They are very well disciplined to not dribble the ball, stay composed against that pressure,” Thiesse said.   

Header Photo: The Mavericks will look to keep their winning streak alive when they face off against the Beavers Friday. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.