Blue Hawk women learning as they goSo far, the Dickinson State women’s basketball season has been about learning how to win.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
So far, the Dickinson State women’s basketball season has been about learning how to win.
The results have been, at best, mixed.
The Blue Hawks are 3-5 but have lost four of their last five games. Their only victories are against the University of Manitoba and Oglala Lakota College.
Nonetheless, first-year head coach Caleb Harrison said the team is getting to where it wants to be.
The Blue Hawks have a chance to prove themselves when they host Rocky Mountain College at 5:30 p.m. today at Scott Gymnasium in the Frontier Conference opener for both teams.
“We’ve come a long way as a team,” Harrison said. “We’re learning how to compete, we’re learning how to fight and learning how to keep games close. The next step for us is learning how to win close games. (Today) is going to be a great challenge for us in that respect.”
Some aspect of the Blue Hawks’ game is beginning to come together.
Sophomore forward Janae Moore and junior guard Mariah Duran have led that charge.
Moore averages 11.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game while getting to the free-throw line (23 of 32) more than any other Blue Hawk. Duran averages a team-high 11.9 points, 2.8 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game.
“I think I’ve adopted a role that I needed to a long time ago,” Moore said. “Last year, I could have taken up that role. This year, I’ve taken it upon myself to do it with the coaches’ encouragement. I’ve focused on doing the things he wants to fill that role — the rebounding, the dirty work.”
Duran said finding those roles have helped the Blue Hawks begin to settle into a flow as the pace of the season begins to hasten.
Balance has been big for the Blue Hawks in the early going. They have five players — senior Yianna Nadeau, Ashley Jelly and Jenna Cabello, junior Dawne Degel and sophomore Jess Bygate — all averaging between 6 and 7.4 points per game.
“We’re at a place where everybody knows their roles and knows where they need to be on the court,” Duran said.
Hindering the Blue Hawks has been the absence of a pair of players they hoped would figure into their rotation coming into the season. Sophomore point guard Jordyn Bender remains sidelined as she rehabs from a shoulder surgery and freshman post Emily Wolf will likely redshirt this season because of a knee injury.
“We would like those players to be playing, but we’ve had other people step up,” Harrison said. “Whenever you have injuries, you have other people step up.”
Harrison hopes that really happens tonight against a Rocky team that has only played half as many games as the Blue Hawks.
The Bears are 1-3 and haven’t played since Nov. 24 when they were defeated 80-65 against Jamestown College at DSU’s Sam Milanovich Classic. This is their first of seven games in December.
“We feel good,” Harrison said. “We’re probably in the best position, as a team, we’ve been in all year.”