Minot State University women's basketball coach Sheila Green Gerding is very complimentary of the University of Mary's motion offense and the variety of threats the Marauders possess.
But it's clear who headlines the Beavers' scouting report as they prepare to face their in-state rival at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Bismarck Civic Center.
That would be Shaunna Knife, a 5-foot-11 senior forward who graduated from Bottineau High School. She's leading the Marauders (4-1) with 15.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game.
Minot State University senior Francesca DeAngelis drives against a Concordia College (Minn.) defender during an MSU win on Nov. 20.
"That's who we've been focusing on in practice," MSU sophomore guard Morgan Klose said. "She can get to the basket whenever she wants, so we've been focusing on knowing where she is at all times. She can drive to the hoop and shoot 3s."
Knife is hitting 49 percent from the field and 43 percent (12-of-28) from 3-point range this season. Green Gerding didn't say who would guard her on defense, but said denying Knife the ball will be a priority.
"Whoever matches up with Shaunna Knife would just have to try to limit her opportunities to get the ball," Green Gerding said. "She's just that kind of kid that the less the ball's in her hands, the less she can make something happen. Because when the ball is in her hands, she's gonna make something happen."
Klose said the Beavers (2-0) will look to slip screens on offense to take advantage of the Marauders' penchant for switching.
"We know they're way better offensively than defensively so we hope if we make them play defense for longer than 10 seconds, they'll wear down and make a mistake and we can get easy baskets," she said.
Green Gerding said the Beavers need to limit the Marauders' transition baskets and offensive rebounds to slow down a team averaging 72 points per game in its opening six contests (including one exhibition).
"We will probably throw everything at them defensively and see how they react," she said. "At different times, we'll match up man-to-man, at different times we might throw some zone, we might throw some full-court press. We'll try to do whatever we can to get them so they're not in sync and not in rhythm."
The game will mark MSU's first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matchup and will be televised by NBC North Dakota.