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SMSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Mustangs ready for home opener

Independent file photo In this Jan. 18, file photo, SMSU’s Sadie Stelter attempts to dribble around a defender during an NSIC matchup versus Minot State University.

MARSHALL — When the Sothwest Minnesota State University women’s basketball team plays its home opener today against Presentation College (S.D.), they will do so with both a familiarity and an unfamiliarity with the opponent.

The Mustangs have faced the Saints just two previous times in their program history, with the Mustangs holding a 2-0 advantage in the series between two teams that haven’t faced each other since Nov. 25, 2006.

However, the familiarity comes on the sideline, where Presentation head coach Nicole Bullock and Aimee Burmester will each be making their returns to the R/A Facility after both played collegiately for the Mustangs.

“I am very excited to be coming back to SMSU; it will be a very special moment for me,” Bullock said. “I have not been back to SMSU as a coach since 2005 so it’s very exciting and I can’t wait for the game.”

Bullock spent four seasons on the Mustangs women’s basketball team from 1998-2002, amassing 513 points and 173 rebounds in 101 career games.

Burmester’s playing career at SMSU was shortened due to injuries. She played in 15 career games from 2006-10 and scored 23 career points.

Bullock said today’s game was not on the books at the time she was hired, but she and current SMSU coach Tom Webb talked shortly after she was hired in June to get the game on the schedule.

There was already some familiarity between Webb and Bullock, as Webb was a student assistant for the Mustangs when Bullock visited SMSU during her senior year of high school.

Now with Webb in his fourth season back at SMSU, Bullock is pleased to see where the program is headed.

“I think it’s exciting to bring someone back from that era and is good for the program,” Bullock said. “I have followed the program since I left in 2005 and I think the current status of the program is on the rise, which is wonderful to see.”

Strong start

The Mustangs enter today’s home opener with an undefeated record after starting the season with a 2-0 record at the Newman Classic in Wichita, Kansas.

SMSU opened the season with a 58-53 victory over East Central (Oklahoma) before a 76-50 win against Ouachita Baptist (Arkansas).

The wins marked the first 2-0 start to a season since 2013-14, while a win today would mean the first 3-0 start since 2007-08.

Jenna Borchers leads the Mustangs in scoring with 15.5 points per game. Not far behind is Meleah Reinhart with 15 points and four rebounds per game. Reinhart was named the NSIC South Player of the Week for her performance in the team’s two wins in Kansas.

Tip-off of today’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the R/A Facility.

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