Women's Basketball Season Preview

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Women's Basketball Season Preview

The Dordt women's basketball team opens up a new season on October 21 after finishing with a 15-11 record in 2020-21. The Defenders placed fifth in the GPAC standings and ended the year in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Head Coach Bill Harmsen will begin his fourth year leading the women's basketball program, accumulating a record of 59-31 at Dordt.

Dordt has a mixture of experienced players and newcomers to begin the year, returning three players who started at least 15 games last season. In her first year with the program, Ashtyn Veerbeek averaged a double-double with 15.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, leading the conference in both rebounds and blocks. Veerbeek was selected to the All-GPAC first team and was named a second team NAIA All-American. Returning players Karly Gustafson and Bailey Beckman also earned All-GPAC honors, with Gustafson being selected to the second team and Beckman being an honorable mention.

"We have a lot of players back from last year, and I think we have a good nucleus of kids who will be able to step on the floor and play at a high level. We also have a really good group of freshmen. I think we're going to put a really good product on the floor and a fun team to watch for the fans," said Head Coach Bill Harmsen.

The Defenders will look to fill the roles of seniors Erika Feenstra, Baylee Tetzlaff, Mari Smitsdorff, and Siennah Stamness. Feenstra finished her career as Dordt's all-time leading scorer with 1,867 points and was an All-GPAC selection in 2020-21. The additions of freshmen Hayden Heimensen (Rock Rapids, IA), Olivia Ritter (Tea, SD), Bailey Sievers (Albert City, IA), Maggie Walker (Fonda, IA), and Janie Schoonhoven (Hospers, IA) to the varsity squad will serve as an important group to this year's team.

Karly Gustafson and Bailey Beckman took steps forward in their sophomore seasons last year, as Beckman was the team's secondary scorer with 12.8 points per game in 16 games played. Gustafson increased her scoring average to 11.2 points and secured 6.6 rebounds per game. Returning players Macey Nielson, Mya Chmielewski, McKenna Klecker, Faith Van Holland, Abby Postma, and Riley Van Hulzen create the remainder of the varsity roster.

"Bailey is playing confidently and her quickness and ability to create her own shot is back. Karly had a great season last year and we're looking for her to do a lot of good things for us," Harmsen commented.

The Defenders have an opportunity to put all of the pieces together in non-conference play before opening the GPAC season at Morningside on November 17. They will play a six-game non-conference schedule that includes the home opener on November 2 versus Dakota State.

Harmsen credited last year's seniors for setting a standard of developing community within the team. Looking ahead toward this season, he is proud of how his team is coming together on and off the court. The team's display of commitment is one that Harmsen hopes will shine through to the fans.

"This team gets along so well. There's a genuine love for each other and commitment to our purpose."

Dordt will open their season at Presentation on Thursday, October 21.