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DSU adds transfer Bentz from Dragons

The Dickinson State women’s basketball team’s future is looking bright with the announcement of another signee for the 2014-15 season.

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Head coach Mark Graupe announced former Grant County standout Ashley Bentz became the team’s newest Blue Hawk on Tuesday. The Elgin native currently attends Minnesota State Moorhead but missed the entire season with a shoulder injury. Bentz will transfer to DSU and be eligible to play in the fall.

The list of her high school basketball accomplishments is long and impressive, but Graupe said some of her more admirable characteristics go beyond her evident talent.

“The things that people don’t know about her are (she’s) very coachable, great teammate, great student,” he said. “She was valedictorian of her class and high ACT scores. She’s got, beyond basketball, all those intangibles a coach looks for.

“She’s really a heady and smart individual and those are the types I can usually do something with. If we get ladies on the floor that have a high basketball IQ, you can do some good things offensively with that type of player to.”

Since the eighth grade, Bentz has been putting up impressive stats and grabbing honors. She collected 2,035 career points and 960 career rebounds, averaging 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

Bentz was a 2013 North Dakota Miss Basketball finalist, earned five all-district selections and three all-region selections. She was named as a second-team all-state selection in 2011 and made the first team in 2012 and 2013.

“Even as a little eighth-grader she was all-district,” Graupe said. “Obviously she has all the accolades and very high in that regard.”

Since taking over the program, one of Graupe’s recruiting missions was to expand the presence of North Dakota natives on the team. The Blue Hawks now have three, including transfer and Killdeer native Megan Klein and Beach senior Hailee Farstveet.

Besides being local, Graupe said North Dakota athletes are a vital asset to any team because of their strong work ethic and blue-collar mentality.

“That’s something I’m trying to bring to the table is that blue-collar work ethic,” he said. “They’re just ladies that people can identify with.”

Last season, DSU finished with a 14-16 overall record. It was 11-5 until the winter break. With Graupe entering his second season, he is switching gears on the offensive end as he looks to implement a four-guard offense.

Graupe is thrilled with the singing of Bentz but said there is still more work to be done on the recruiting end. He hopes to continue to recruit more girls around the area to join Bentz, Farstveet and Klein on the court.

“I’m still hoping this is not the end of the North Dakota route,” he said.

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.