Back in March, Mike Brandt was named the new head coach of the Beaver’s Women’s Basketball team.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, I think there are fantastic facilities here,” Brandt said. “I think the possibility of developing a winning program is here, they haven’t been super successful in recent years, so it’s a great challenge for me to come in here and hopefully develop a program so a lot of excitement about coming to Minot.”
Brandt said coming to the Beavers program he wants to build a team that is well-rounded both on and off the court.
“I want it to be a family atmosphere,” Brandt said. “I want them to be able to get along with each other, want them to have fun. I want to instill some principles of hard work, working together, having good team chemistry.”
Coming into this season, Brandt has over 30 years of coaching experience.
Players like Amber Stevahn said just in a couple of weeks of practice, he has taught them so much.
“He pushes ourselves and challenges us but still gives us confidence so we’ve learned a lot more little things, he opens up our eyes to what is open and we’ve all improved in such a small amount of time. And I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” Stevahn said.
The Beavers finished last season 4-10 after it was cut short. Brandt and players said coming into this season they know what they needed to improve on.
“The biggest thing I think is defense,” Calli Delsman, Senior Forward/Guard, said. “He even said it coming in this year if we had better defense last year we would have doubled our wins. So he has really put on the pressure of really being a team defense and just keeping our opponents to a lower score than we are used to.”
The Beavers opened the 2021 season with an exhibition game win against Dickinson State University. Brandt said his team showed a lot of promise and just need to get the nerves out.
“They really worked hard and they worked together and their attitude was very good, I thought that was very positive,” Brandt said. “I think they had jitters initially and part of that is a new coach and new system, how is the coach going to react is he going to yell scream is he going to get mad and call a timeout. I think that’s just a feeling-out process both for them and for myself as a coach.”
Brandt added this season he is reminding his girls they will need to be mentally and physically strong.
“It doesn’t really matter how strong you are physical, that helps, but even if you’re very thin and not that strong but mentally you go to be prepared to face the battles and contact in college is so different from high school so that’s something you just have to keep pressing on your players to play strong mentally and the physical stuff will come eventually,” Brandt said.
And as the lone senior this year, Delsman said she has experience not only on the court but with a new coach and can help the younger girls adapt.
“Just trying to help out the new girls and obviously with a new system I’ve been there with a new coach coming in as a Freshman so I think just being more positive and trying to keep the positive mentality going and stuff,” Delsman said.
This season, the Women’s and Men’s teams will play back to back on game days.
And the Beavers’ season tips off when they travel to Billings Montana for a tournament where they will face Montana State University on Friday.