Hardrockers look for solid performance against Eagles
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines women’s basketball team will be in action tonight at the King Center in Rapid City as they square off against the NCAA Div. II Chadron State Lady Eagles. The game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m.
The Hardrockers come into the bout with an impressive 7-2 overall mark and a No. 16 preseason national ranking. Most recently the Mines women split a pair of very tough road games last weekend, coming up just short against the Northwestern Iowa Red Raiders in overtime, 107-104, followed by winning decisively over the University of Sioux Falls, 81-68.
The ‘Rockers have had a great start to the season and already have 12 NAIA Div. II national category rankings including four Top 10’s. SDM is currently fifth in assists per game, averaging 21.4, and are seventh in both scoring offense per game (84.778) and assist/turnover ratio (1.84). The Hardrockers are also 10th in the nation in field goal percentage with a mark of .471.
Freshman Jerika Ihnen drives to the baseline and looks to score during a recent home game at the King Center in Rapid City. Photo by Brad Blume
Senior Melanie Vedvei, who is a two-time Dakota Athletic Conference MVP and a NAIA All American, is having another banner year. She is currently fourth on the SD School of Mines all time scoring list with 1,726 points and also holds down three national rankings. The Lake Preston native is seventh in steals per game (4.0), 11th in assist per game (5.9) and 30th in points per game, averaging 18.3.
Sophomore Nicole Martin also has a national ranking. She is 11th in assist/turnover ratio (3.75) and junior transfer Jessica Tsingine is 49th in the same categories with an average of 2.0.
The Eagles enter Friday’s matchup very fresh, only playing three games thus far and posting a 1-2 mark for the year. They most recently defeated Newman University out of Kansas, winning the game, 72-56.
The Eagles are led by junior guard Kristi Long and sophomore forward Sunni Busch. Long, from Peetz, Colo., has been averaging 16 points a game while Busch, from Mission, S.D., puts up 13.7 points a game so far this season, hauls in 6.7 rebounds each time out and has tallied 13 assists in three games played.
The Hardrockers have a number of weapons to keep the Eagles grounded. Along with Vedvei (averaging 18.33 points per game), senior Jennie Malone is fast adapting to the game after joining the team two weeks ago at the conclusion of the volleyball season. The Rapid City native has contributed considerable at both ends of the court. She is already averaging 16.5 points a game. Amber Deweerd has also been a factor this season as a force in the paint. She has 44 total on the season and is currently trying to heal up from a leg injury sustained last weekend in Iowa.
Add in newcomers Stephanie Bjustrom (averaging 9.5 points)on the outside and Jerika Ihnen (averaging 8.7 points) in the paint to go along with sophomores Bethany Holyoak (averaging 11.9 points) and Leah Sundby (averaging 5.4 points) and that makes the Lady Hardrockers a solid group with a lot of depth.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.