Still not there yet

My cohort Mr. Izzo opined over the Christmas break that one of the teams to watch for 2011 was the Bison women’s basketball team, mainly to see if it is ready to make a serious run at the NCAA tournament. It was discussed again on Dizzo’s Den radio show Monday night before the NDSU-Oral Roberts game and my answer was essentially this: It is getting closer, but I need to see more and I’m not quite there yet.

I’m still not. What the Golden Eagles showed the Bison on Monday night at the BSA was a good dose of speed and athleticism and the Bison showed they have trouble with that for 40 minutes. When NDSU went up by 19 points a 37-18, most games are over at that point. But ORU was relentless in its defense (26 turnovers) and 22 offensive rebounds is a testament that the Eagles are a little quicker and explosive to the ball than NDSU. Final: ORU 84, NDSU 74.

Can the Bison still make a run in the Summit League tournament in Sioux Falls? Certainly. NDSU won at South Dakota State last month and it almost always plays ORU tough. But dropping 19-point leads at home is something tournament teams just don’t do.

Further info on reason for transfer

From Tom Eckmann, Rachelle Eckmann’s father, on her transfer to St. Cloud State: it had nothing to do with grades, she pulled a 3.0 GPA her first year, but it had more to do with the consistency of the coaching staff.

She was recruited by Amy Ruley and Kelli Layman out of high school, but Ruley left coaching for her administrative position. Still, Tom Eckmann said, Rachelle developed a good relationship with new assistant Mary Grothe, who was also her academic coach. But Grothe left this summer and that brought St. Cloud State head coach Lori Fish back into the picture.

Tom Eckmann said Rachelle, originally, would have liked to play for Fish if NDSU wasn’t in the picture.

Now it appears that will be the case. Tom Eckmann said he still loves the Bison program and he had lofty praise for women’s athletic director Lynn Dorn.