Oct 23rd, 2005 @ 8:22 pm | Author: Vikings Sports News
Coach Jill DeVries and VCSU women’s basketball embark on the 2005-06 season with their sites set on a Dakota Athletic Conference championship.
DeVries and VCSU women’s basketball have been linked since 1999 when the North Dakota State alum accepted the job of turning the program back into a winner. Since then, DeVries and the Vikings have posted progressively better records and managed to be competitive with the top teams in the conference let alone the country.
From the start, DeVries believed in teaching players the fundamentals to the game and how to give great effort. This approach, combined with DeVries’ refusal to settle for anything but an athlete’s best, has been key to VCSU’s continued improvement.
Success, however, does not come overnight. Although the overall play of the Vikings has improved each year, so has that of the league. Yet, the early struggles have been outshined by some memorable moments. Among DeVries’ favorites: beating the #1-ranked U of Mary 62-60 in 2003-04, beating four ranked opponents that same year, being one win short of qualifying for the national tournament (2003-04) and sweeping the U of Mary (65-53) and Jamestown College (71-62) on the road in 2004-05.
The exodus of the University of Mary, three-time defending DAC10 champs, and the closing of Si Tanka University, puts just one thought into the minds of the eight remaining teams – a new champion will be crowned.
That taste of success has set a precedence for an excited group of returnees ready to make the next step toward a championship program. The team that takes the floor this season will be as fast, strong and as athletic as any in the history of Viking women’s basketball.
Seniors Janae Larson (5-8, G, Valley City, ND), Darcie Engelby (5-10, F, Hoffman, MN) and Sarah Heringer (5-11, F, Lambert, MT) head the list of returnees.
Larson had an exceptional junior season including three 20+ performances. She led the Vikings in scoring nine times. She averaged 13 points and four rebounds per game in 2004-05. Larson completed 45% of her field goals and 34% from beyond the arc and for her efforts was named 3rd Team All-DAC 10.
The Vikings also return leading scorer and 2nd Team All-DAC 10 performer Loni Hall (6-1, C, Parshall, ND). Hall is a junior and arguably one of the best post players in the Dakota Athletic Conference. She lead VCSU in scoring 15 times including eight 20+ performances. Hall averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in 2004-05.
Hall is joined in the junior class by Molly Schultz (5-8, G, Casselton, ND), Beth Orthman (5-10, F, Lemmon, SD), Shannon Mundfrom, (6-0, F, Greeley, CO), and Mallory Undlin (5-10, F, Lansford, ND). Undlin transfers from Lake Region College where she was named All-Mon-Dak. Undlin helped lead the Royals to a 30-4 record in 2004-05 and back-to-back trips to the NJCAA National Tournament. Undlin averaged 6.8 points per game shooting 45% from the floor and 85% from the line. She also averaged 9.3 rebounds per game and recorded 94 steals and 81 assists in 33 games. Schultz is the heir apparent in the point guard position for the Vikings. She has seen limited action her first two seasons due to injury and is looking forward to the 2005-06 campaign.
The story of the season will unfold with the development of the underclassmen. The sophomores Abby Dralle (5-8, G, Moffit, ND) and Lisa Dornacker (6-1, F, Duluth, MN) bring both athleticism and scoring punch to the table. Dornacker tranfered to VCSU from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her size along with her perimeter skills will make her one the most versatile athletes in the DAC.
Challenging for playing time will be five talented freshmen. On the perimeter, Brittany Olson (5-4, G, Halstad, MN), Valerie Moller (5-7, G, Rugby, ND) and Lara Loomis are eager to prove themselves. Olson averaged 18 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in her senior season. She scored 1282 career points and was a Pine-to-Prairie all-conference selection three times. Moller is a deceptive scorer with the ability to blow by opponents in the open court and finish baby jumpers. She averaged 10.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.3 assists per game in her senior season. Moller shot 47% from the field and 77% from the line in nineteen games. She was named to the All-District 11 team three times and was twice a CNDC all-tournament selection.
Adding depth to the center position are Heidi Larson (6-2, C, Grand Rapids, MN) and Anna Davidson (6-1, C, Soldiers Grove, WI). Larson will join the team late as she is a two sport athlete at VCSU competing in volleyball as well. She averaged 11 points, seven rebounds, and over two blocks per game in her senior season. Davidson, a raw talent, has a knack for being around the ball. She averaged nine points and eight rebounds in her senior season.
The Viking women’s basketball team has set lofty, yet attainable, goals for the 2005-06 season. Coach DeVries believes that the programs overall depth of talent has improved and thus, the style of play will change and improve. 'We would like to play an up-tempo style of play. The added depth not only on the perimeter, but more importantly in the middle, will allow us to do that this season.'
The schedule will challenge the Vikings early opening with four out of their first five games against GPAC foes. They will travel to Mount Marty to start the 05-06 season, then return home to face U of Sioux Falls and Dakota Wesleyan before heading off to the Midland Lutheran Tournament. In addition they will face NCAA DI NDSU, NCAA DII North Dakota and MN-Crookston, and DIII Bethel College and Concordia College all on the road. 'We believe our non-conference schedule will help prepare us for a very tough Dakota Athletic Conference race.' DeVries said.