The opening of the new Scheels Center will not only welcome the men’s basketball team, but also the women’s basketball team. While the men have been playing at the Scheels Arena for the past few years, the women have been playing in the old Bentsen Bunker Fieldhouse. Finally with the opening of the SHAC, both teams will be able to start their seasons in a new arena.
The Bison women are excited for another year and look to improve upon their season last year. The Bison struggled last year finishing dead last in the Summit League with a 7-22 record. With the new season just around the corner, the Summit League came out with their preseason poll and the improved on last year’s finishing position. The Bison were selected to finish No. 7 in the standings. Defending champion South Dakota State were predicted to take the title once again this year.
The No. 7 projection is good news for the Bison, as only the top eight teams go to the Summit League Tournament. The Bison missed out on that dance last year.
Along with the preseason polls, the Summit League also came out with their preseason awards for All-Summit first team and second team.
NDSU’s Taylor Thunstedt finished on the All-Summit second team. Last year she averaged 17 points to lead the Bison. Also returning for the Bison are Briana Jones and Emily Spier, who both started last year. Returning from the bench are Megan Gamble, Kennedy Childers and Hannah Breske.
But just like every year, there will be some incoming freshmen to join the Bison. Anna Goodhope, Reilly Jacobson, Rylee Nudell, Autumn Odgen and Tyrah Spencer are the six new freshman on the team. Their additions should help the team not only now, but also in the future.
Maren Walseth, the head coach for the women’s team, will look to try and improve on her first two seasons.
They started the season on a good note with the Bison picking up a win in an exhibition game on Thursday. The Bison beat the Bemidji State Beavers with a score of 79-59. Briana Jones was the leading scorer for the Bison with 19 points, and Thundstedt also made her presence known scoring 14 points. The Bison beat a team that also struggled last year. Bemidji State finished the year 7-20. The game was held at the Scheels Center with a crowd of 680 people.
The Bison did most of their damage to other teams at home. Last year, they took five of their seven wins at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.
The regular season opens for the Bison next Saturday when NDSU hosts Dickinson State at the Scheels Center at 7:00 p.m.