Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Only 10 wins last year was frustrating for the UMD men, but those trying times seem to have paved the way to the Bulldogs' success.
"I think it was a good test last year to face some adversity," Bulldogs junior guard Jake Hottenstine said, "and this year we were able to gel and get things rolling."
"We have a lot of younger guys, but we also have a lot of game experience in terms of guys that played last year to this year," UMD senior guard Ryan Rasmussen said. "It's going to bring us a long way."
Versatility will be another concept that drives this team, hopefully to contention in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
"I really believe that conference games are won in the half-court set, as are NCAA games," Bulldogs head coach Gary Holquist said, "so we are trying to tool this team to take advantage of opportunities in the full-court situations, but also to be able to play solidly in a half-court set."
The excitement this season for the UMD women, meanwhile, comes from renewed individual and team commitment.
"They are certainly 'all in' in terms of their work ethic and commitment to each other," UMD head coach Annette Wiles said. "They are an extremely close-knit group, and the chemistry is just amazing."
The Bulldogs this year feature two local stars in Katrina and Jessica Newman, who say a well-rounded game has served the team well.
"Everybody has contributed on offense, so it's nice that we're not relying on one or two people," UMD sophomore guard Katrina Newman said. "Everyone can score."
"Like Coach [Wiles] always talks about, we have to play defense," Bulldogs freshman guard Jessica Newman said. "Defense wins games, so that's what we have to focus on."
Posted by Zach Schneider