Oct 31st, 2012 @ 11:37 am | Author: Viking Sports Admin
Coming off back-to-back trips to the NAIA DII National Tournament, the expectations for the Valley City State University women's basketball program are high in 2012-13.

The Vikings boast a strong nucleus returning five starters and eight players who saw significant playing time last season. Now in her 14th season at the helm of the Valley City State basketball program, head coach Jill DeVries' squad is arguably the deepest roster in program history.

'We feel that the strength of the 2013 team is that we are a cohesive unit with a strong core of returners that have been in big game situations.' says DeVries. 'We know what it takes to win and have higher expectations as a team than any other I've coached here.'

Three seniors will help lead the Vikings this season. Courtney Titus (8.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.3 spg) brings energy as a tenacious defender and relentless competitor to both practice and game day situations. Katie Ralston (9.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg) was named to the All-Independent 3rd Team; while Alyssa Hummel (8.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg) became a force for VCSU in the paint on both ends of the court.

Lone junior Brittany Lehner (11.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg) led the Vikings in scoring and rebounding and will be looked upon to take on even more of a leadership role in her junior campaign. Lehner was named to the All-Independent 3rd Team and was the Independent Tournament MVP as a sophomore.

Sophomore point guard Sadiqah Jihad (5.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.5 asp) started 29 of 34 games as a freshman for the Vikings and led them with a team high 90 assists. Sophomore Sierra Even (5.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg) saw action in 32 games, averaging 22 minutes and starting in 12 of them.

Another solid sophomore guard, Stephanie Pedersen (4.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg), averaged just over 18 minutes in each of her 34 appearances. Forward Kelsey Hunter (6.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) really came on toward the end of her freshman season and is expected to make a bigger impact her sophomore season. The fifth returning sophomore for the Vikings is Megan Trautman who shot 50% from the 3-point range in her freshmen season.

'We'll have 10 sophomores and freshmen and we'll need to get some consistent play from young players throughout the season.' commented DeVries.

Those making their VCSU debut include sophomore Mariah Smith (Tower City, ND.) Smith, sat out the 2012 season after a late transfer from Lake Region last season and is expected to make an immediate impact as a premier offensive threat for the Vikings.

Four freshmen round out the Vikings 14 player roster for 2013. Guards Erika Ettl (Yokota, Japan) and Tracie Boehmlehner (Wheaton, MN) give the Vikings some much needed sharp shooting from behind the 3-point arc. Forwards Courtney Dixon (Casselton, ND) and Ashli Lee (Brooklyn Park, MN) shore up the power forward position and add depth and rebounding to the mix.

Also new to the Vikings is assistant coach Lavesa Glover. Glover played collegiately at NCAA DI UW-Green Bay as well as for three seasons overseas before taking over the director of basketball operations position at UW-Milwaukee.

The Vikings, who narrowly missed the preseason NAIA Top 25 basketball poll, will open their season this Friday on the road at #2 ranked and three time defending National Champion Northwestern College (IA) before playing Dordt College on Saturday November 3rd.

You can watch the Vikings 2012-2013 season opener by clicking on the link below.
Northwestern College vs. Valley City State