BEMIDJI, Minn. — Gabby DuBois didn’t say much when she arrived at Bemidji State as a freshman. She spent more time listening than talking during her first two years on the women’s basketball team.
Now a senior, DuBois, who graduated from West Fargo High School in 2017, has emerged from her shell.
“Her freshman and sophomore year, she barely said two words. We had to really pry it out of her to talk,” Bemidji head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “Now she’s outgoing as heck and just has this amazing personality. It brings another unique leadership style as a senior.”
DuBois got more comfortable as seasons went on, and her “goofy” personality is beloved by her teammates and coaching staff, DeVille said.
Dubois has made some noise on the court, too. She's made strides in her game each year, and as a senior, it’s been no different.
The 5-foot-10 forward is averaging 8.5 points through two games for the Beavers.
“She definitely is that kid that can potentially be a matchup nightmare because she’s a strong power forward that can step out and shoot,” said DeVille, in her sixth season at the helm. “She’s really talented on the boards and can play in the paint.”
Bemidji (1-1) has played just two games this season, both against Minnesota State Mankato (62-63, 82-76). The Beavers were slated to play Northern State in Aberdeen last weekend, but the series was canceled due to COVID-19 testing protocols at BSU.
DuBois was efficient in her two-game performance against the Mavericks, shooting 8 of 14 (57%) from the floor.
“I think we're in great shape for taking on the (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) this year,” DuBois said. “With a more experienced team this year compared to others, we have a great chance to compete and win a lot of our games this year.”
Coming off a season-ending injury, DuBois shot 44% from the field and averaged 3.1 points per game as a junior. She played in 10 games as a sophomore before she tore her ACL right after Christmas break.
She returned a month or two before the first game of her junior season.
“That makes her accomplishments and strides even more impressive, just knowing that she’s come off a season-ending injury,” DeVille said. “Even the strides she’s made from last season to this season, considering all the obstacles with COVID, is even more remarkable.”
DuBois possesses some natural skill, but has put in the work behind the scenes to develop her game and push it to the next level, DeVille said. Offensively, she can be difficult to matchup against, and can be used inside and out.
“She’s such a student of the game. She watches collegiate women’s basketball, men’s basketball,” DeVille said. "She loves the WNBA. She’s a junkie, and she just goes to work.”
But DeVille’s favorite thing about DuBois isn’t her skill or playing ability. It’s her team-first attitude, and how she enjoys every minute of the game — whether it’s on the court or bench.
“The thing about Gabby is she could play 20-30 minutes a game, or she could play 10, and it doesn’t matter,” DeVille said. “Her energy and her want to win is so huge. She’s out there mindlessly; going to work. She does the tough things, like the rebounds and battling for the difficult shots in the paint. She’s really a huge asset for us this year.”
The Beavers went 9-18 overall last year and 6-16 in conference play. They were predicted to finish sixth in the North Division and 13th overall in this year's NSIC preseason coaches’ poll. With a roster dominated by upperclassmen, DuBois and her team have high hopes for this season.
“Under DeVille, we’re kind of her first real recruiting class,” DuBois said. “I think she’s kind of shaped us into what she wants her program to be. And now with us being seniors, it’s her team now. I think it’s gonna be good.”
The Beavers next play Minnesota State Moorhead on Jan. 15-16 at home. They won’t be traveling to Moorhead this year to play the Dragons, a trip DuBois typically looks forward to. In a normal year, her family, friends and hometown supporters would be in attendance at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.
Dubois’ senior season isn’t how she imagined it, but she’s grateful she gets to have one at all this year.
“I’m so happy,” she said. “Even if it’s a reduced season, knowing at least I get a couple games left in my college career takes a weight off my shoulders.”