SMSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Making the case for the next SMSU coach

Editor’s note: This article is strictly the opinions of David Merrill and Josh VanKlompenburg. This is not confirming that these individuals have applied for or received interviews for the job in any way.

Southwest Minnesota State is having their committee meeting this week and hopes to start the interview process for a new women’s basketball coach in the upcoming weeks.

Marshall Independent sports editor David Merrill and sports reporter Josh VanKlompenburg make the case for some coaches who they feel would be good fits.

The case for Abby

Oakland: Oakland is currently the interim head coach following Allison Kruger’s resignation after the 2016 season.

There’s a lot to be said for someone that wore an SMSU uniform.

Oakland played for the Mustangs from 2005-2009 and tallied 689 points and 330 assists.

Her 330 assists are the seventh most in school history.

Oakland’s 85.6 free throw percentage still stands as the best in school history and she is tied for ninth in 3-point field goals made with 96.

She was also a member of the womens golf team and made the Academic All-NSIC squad.

The case for Shannon Nelson (Bolden):

Nelson is currently coaching at Northland Community and Technical College.

She is a Marshall native who joined the 2,000-point club during her career with the Tigers. She went on to play at the University of Minnesota.

Nelson was on the Big 10 all-defensive team her junior and senior seasons.

She helped the Gophers make four straight NCAA tournament trips, which included three trips to the Sweet 16. Minnesota made the Final Four in her junior season.

The case for Jessica Pelzel:

Jessica Pelzel is a Heron Lake native who played for Southwest Minnesota State. She is currently coaching at Madison College.

Pelzel wore a Mustang uniform from 1996-2000 and finished with 559 career points. She averaged 5.9 points per game over her career.

She has been head coach at Madison college since 2006-2007 and has compiled a record of 109-47.

The Wolfpack went to the NJCAA DIII national championship in the 2009-2010 season.

The case for Megan Vogel:

Vogel is currently an assistant coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she handles player development, recruiting, scheduling and on-court duties.

Vogel is part of a staff that has compiled 17 straight regular season conference titles and 13 total conference tournament titles.

She was a four-year player at South Dakota State, where she finished at the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,850 points.

Vogel also finished third all-time in 3-pointers and fifth all-time in rebounds.

She went on to be drafted by the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, but was cut prior to the 2007 season.

Vogel stayed on the team as a practice player and helped break down film. She also spent time on the Minnesota Lynx roster and playing in Germany.

The case for Michelle Bruns:

When you look through the record books of the Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball program, it’s difficult to find a statistical category that does not include the name Michelle Bruns.

Third all-time in points (1,645), she also ranks first in assists (493), minutes (3,704), and 3-point field goals made (190) and attempted (501). Bruns also finished her career fifth in steals (193), 10th in rebounds (596), and seventh in 3-point percentage (.379).

In her four seasons as a Mustang, the program held a record of 77-43, including 41-25 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. Only missing one career game, Bruns saw action in 119 games (tied for third all-time) and was in the starting lineup for 103 games.

After her playing days were over, she spent six years on the sidelines. She began as an assistant coach at both Eastern Washington and Adams State (Colorado). After two years off, she was hired as the head coach at Grove City (Pennsylvania). Bruns guided Grove City to a 30-46 record in her three seasons, before stepping down in 2013 to take a position with the United States Army as a performance enhancement specialist.

The case for: Alaura Sharp

A two-year player at Southwest Minnesota State from 2004 to 2006, Alaura Sharp has history in the Southwest Minnesota State program after transferring from Fort Scott Community College (Kansas).

As a senior during the 2005-06 season, Sharp averaged 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game and recorded a team-high 47 steals. Those numbers put her third on the team in scoring and rebounding. She led the Mustangs in scoring in five games and led the team in rebounding six times.

Beginning her coaching career at Adams State (Colorado) for two years, she then spent five years coaching in the junior college ranks before getting hired at Division I Southern Mississippi in 2013.

At USM, she is now an associate head coach, as well as the program’s recruiting coordinator. In her three years, the Lady Eagles have compiled a 66-34 record.


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