Second year Minot State Women’s Basketball Coach Mike Brandt faced plenty of challenges in year one with the Beavers, including coaching a roster filled with players he didn’t recruit.

“For me, it was kind of just a big blur, because you don’t know anything about the schools you play, you learn on the fly, you travel to places you’ve never been to, you play in gyms you’ve never seen, and so that’s kind of difficult. Along with learning about your new players and learning about them both on the court and off the court,” Brandt said.

This year’s lineup features six players recruited by the second year staff.

It’s kind of exciting when you have a big new group coming, because there is a lot of enthusiasm, there’s a lot of competitiveness, a lot of people wanting to prove themselves for starting spots, minutes, that kind of stuff,” Senior Guard Kate Head said.

Everyone’s so enjoyable to be around. Truly, I feel like we’re all just a big family out here and Coach Brandt is kind of like our dad in a way, just helping us through life and through basketball,” Senior Guard Breianna Smestad said.

Replacing forward Amber Stevahn will be a major challenge for MSU in 2022, as she led the Beavers in scoring over the past two seasons.

“We pretty much knew that Amber was going to score and we knew that if we got her the ball she was gonna get a good shot up for us, so I think the whole attitude of the team is a little bit different now without having her, and we don’t really have what I see as a dominant scorer, but we have a lot of individuals that can score 8-12 points, and in some ways that can be really effective for you if you give them a chance,” Brandt said.

“We’re really working on getting our plays down right and being able to all contribute in whatever way we can. Coach Brandt really talks to us about doing our job, doing our role and just work together as a team instead of just relying on one individual,” Smestad said.

This team hopes to make the conference tournament after falling one game short of that mark back in February, as Brandt continues to rebuild an MSU program in search of it’s first winning season since the 2017-18 team went 14-13.

“To build a program, it takes a little bit of time. I like to build it with freshman and bring in players that you start to develop from the beginning and they stick with you for 3-4 years whatever the case may be and I just think that’s how you build a solid program as compared to just a winning program,” Brandt said.