New coach wants new attitude for Cobbers
The Concordia women's basketball team might want to exchange its high-top sneakers for running shoes this season. After years of seeing the Cobbers play a half-court game, first-year coach Troy Odegaard felt it was time to get aggressive. Ode...
The Concordia women's basketball team might want to exchange its high-top sneakers for running shoes this season.
After years of seeing the Cobbers play a half-court game, first-year coach Troy Odegaard felt it was time to get aggressive.
Odegaard, a Cobbers assistant for two seasons, will implement an attacking, full-court pressure defense and a motion offense to capitalize on the team's athleticism.
"We're bringing a new attitude to the team this year," Odegaard said. "Our recruiting philosophy has always been to get athletic kids. These athletes are strong, fast, quick and can play basketball.
"Now the system is finally going to utilize it."
The Cobbers, who open the season today at the Capital Tournament in Ohio, finished 11-14 last season using a more conservative approach under coach Sara Cepek.
Concordia was tied for fifth in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and missed the final conference playoff spot due to tiebreaker criteria.
Odegaard said the results should have been better.
"They've been held back," Odegaard said. "Now we're finally teaching them how to play defense in the full court and how to rebound in the full court. They're finally learning how to do those things you need to do in transition."
The Cobbers lost guard Mandy Berggren (16 points a game) to graduation, but still have a legitimate scoring threat in 5-foot-8 senior center Kasey Bostow.
Bostow, an all-MIAC selection last year, averaged 17.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Bostow finished runner-up for the league MVP award.
"She's smooth and cagey," Odegaard said. "Sometimes I sit for 40 minutes and look at the stat sheet and wonder how she had so many points and rebounds. She's the calming influence out there."
Giving Bostow help in the front court is junior forward Debbie Slack. Slack scored just under six points, but hauled in 8.4 rebounds a game.
Sophomore Jamie Stensgard, a transfer from NCAA Division II North Dakota State, is the favorite to succeed Berggren at the shooting guard position.
A key to the Cobbers' success last season was the surprising maturity of point guard Mandy Pearson.
Pearson averaged 13 points, 4.4 rebounds and almost seven assists a game as a freshman.
"Because last year's kids as sophomores and freshman were required to play an extreme amount of quality minutes, they are aged beyond their years," Odegaard said.
Juniors Becky Fitch and Beth Drager will add depth in the post.
"They've kind of sat down as a group and have goals of their own," Odegaard said. "But I think we'll be good enough to compete."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562