Birkel, Bison Ready for ‘12-13 Season
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 15:10
Coming off back-to-back losing seasons, the NDSU women’s basketball team has their sight set on a successful 2012-13 campaign.
The Bison experienced their worst season in the Summit League last year, finishing with an 8-10 record. Improvement is something the players and coaches are definitely expecting this winter.
“Our players are excited, love the culture and what’s coming to practice right now,” said head coach, Carolyn DeHoff in her opening statement at the Summit League media day last Wednesday. “A lot of that comes from our great leadership that is returning.”
The Bison will be returning six seniors to the hardwood and four of which that played a heavy dose of minutes on last year’s team that finished nine games under .500.
One of the seniors who missed last year is pre-season all summit league first teamer Katie Birkel. Birkel is coming-off of a horrific ACL injury that knocked her out for all of last season. Before going down with the injury, Birkel was known to be the team’s ironman, playing all 87 games since joining the Bison back in 2008.
The fifth year senior from Lincoln has been one of the most decorated women’s basketball players at NDSU in recent memory. Along with numerous Summit League honors, Birkel has already accumulated over 1,000 points in her career as a Bison.
But for the Bison to be successful once again, they will need contributions from what looks to be a deep Bison roster.
“We have the ability to go ten, twelve deep right now and that’s huge,” said DeHoff when chatting with WDAY’s Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack during a Bison Blog interview this week. “We have a lot of flexibility with the abilities of our players.”
As a junior last season, Dani DeGagne filled in nicely at the point for an injured Birkel. Coach DeHoff expects to move her around a little more this season utilizing her on the wing and at the two-guard position. The now senior, DeGagne tied for the team lead in scoring last season averaging over ten points and will expect to be just as impactful for the Bison on the court this season.
In the post, the Bison will lean heavily on senior forward, Janae Burich. DeHoff describes her as “mobile” down-low with her ability to have a great impact on both ends of the floor. Burich averaged nearly three blocks a game last year and was tied with DaGagne for the team lead in points per. For her outstanding play last year, Burich was named to the preseason all-league second team last week.
The Bison are hoping Burich presence on the floor will yet again come to the forefront when the Bison host Harvard in the first game of the regular season next Friday, November 9th.
The Bison will also have two new face’s patrolling the sidelines beside coach DeHoff this season. Back in May, Tom Goehle from Sioux Falls was introduced as the new assistant coach along with Stephanie Reiter, acting as the new Director of Basketball Operations.
“Felt the moves that were made are tremendous. The investment was all about these players,” said DeHoff.
Fans will be looking forward to how the new presence on the bench will help spark the Bison to victory as they try and capture their first Summit League crown.