BISMARCK, N.D. - The St. Mary’s Saints have had a very good start to their season. They’ve got the win over five teams from the West Region early on, and it’s pretty clear that they don’t plan on stopping whatever it is that they’re doing to keep the w’s coming.
Something that this experienced group of girls have this year that carries on from last season, is their dedication on the court, as the Saints head coach, Shannon Copas said: "Well, just motivation from last year. We've got the same core group coming back. We were right there last year, and it was just a motivation factor for them, so they've come back, really, really focused, and really driven to do well this year, and they're working hard, and they're working together."
The joint effort from everyone seems to be paying off, as these girls have a lot to play for this season. "Honestly in practice we've been working so hard, and, we've honestly we've earned it because we've been working,” said senior Sydney. “And, like, everyone always under-estimates St. Mary's girls basketball, because, everyone just things we're not very good. And we're just trying to prove it to everybody, like what we are made of, and what we're capable of."
Coach Copas adds that, "you know, we've got multiple leaders. And you can see that in our scoring as well. They work really well together, one night it could be a Tonya Dvorak, the other night it's a Sydney Smith, another night it's a Kaitlyn Wanner or Megan Heick or Lizzie Preszler, they all take their little part, and do really well with it."
And so far, these girls have been proving that. But their minds aren’t set on right now, as they’re looking forward to the months to come – as senior Tonya Dvorak describes it: "Well I know we had a lot of high hopes to begin with, and so, being able to go 5-0 to begin with, is really something special, and I know we're proud of it. But, we have a ton of work to do, and our goal is March, it's not now, so right now we're not really looking at polls, we're kind of just, keeping our head down, and trying to get a win after win. And that's what we're doing right now."
And with no real main leader on this team, the girls say that their camaraderie on the court is to help with their success. "We've, most of us seniors have played with each other since 4th grade, so we've always kind of had that connection with each other, and, I don't know, it just carried on through the years, and it's just been really strong this year,” said senior Kaitlyn Wanner. “And the younger girls are super close to us, we just have really good team chemistry."
You can hear more from Tonya Dvorak tomorrow as Kaleigh Emery puts her in this week’s sports spotlight. And also happening tomorrow, the Saints will be out in Fargo to take on the undefeated Shanley Deacons at 1:00 CT.