MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

March 8, 2014

Women’s basketball team is off to the national tournament!


The Mayville State University women’s basketball team made history Tuesday evening, March 4, by defeating University of Jamestown to claim the inaugural North Star Athletic Association conference tournament championship. The Lewy Lee Fieldhouse was a sea of blue, filled with Comets fans who came to support their team. The next step in the journey for the team is a trip to the national tournament. Last year the team made Mayville State history by becoming the first-ever Mayville State women’s basketball team to play in a national tournament.  

The Comets are led by Head Coach Dennis Hutter. David Moe and Megan Groen are his assistant coaches, and Gareth Hanson is the student assistant. The roster includes Samantha Heier, Ray, N.D.; Hailey Longtin, Walhalla, N.D.; Liza Hoglo, Thief River Falls, Minn.; Kay Laforet, LaSalle, Ontario; Missy Kassube, Eagle Bend, Minn.; Alyssa Blair, Elbow Lake, Minn.; Sabrina Rude, McVille, N.D.; Brooke McNary, Seattle, Wash.; Eric Henrikson, Moorhead, Minn.; Alicia Nopola, Silver Bay, Minn.; Angela Tauer, Hutchinson, Minn.; Lindsey Gonsior, Eagan, Minn.; and Apiphany Asberry, Brooklyn Park, Minn.

The Comets will be among 32 teams competing in the 23nd Annual State Farm-NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship March 12-18. The tournament will be held at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Pairings were made during a live selection show on the evening of March 5. You can find all the details about the national tournament at

A Comets send-off celebration is being planned for Monday, March 10 at the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. The public is invited to come to the fieldhouse late Monday morning and watch the Comets as they have their final home practice before the national tournament. A formal program is scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. Please plan to join us at the Lewy Lee as we send the women and their coaches off in Mayville State style!

It takes significant funding to send a team to a national tournament. To help defray expenses associated with the trip, Mayville’s local radio station, KMAV, is hosting  a telethon on Monday morning, March 10, from 9:30 to 11:30. During the telethon the coaches and players will be interviewed and Comet boosters are invited to call in with their monetary contributions for the team. Thank you to Dan Keating for organizing the carrying out the telethon. We are grateful to the Keatings and KMAV for their constant support for Mayville State.

The Comets have built an impressive résumé in 2013-2014. Throughout the season, they’ve been climbing in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll, and currently are sitting with a #11 rank. They finished the regular season with an overall record of 22-3, and completed North Star Athletic Association conference regular season play with a 7-1 record and being crowned the regular season champion. The Comets were seeded #1 in the conference tournament. They received a bye through the quarterfinals and hosted the semi-final and final rounds of the tournament at home in the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. The Comets defeated Dakota State in the semi-finals, and as mentioned earlier, defeated University of Jamestown, ranked #3 in the nation, in the conference championship.  

Several Comets received special conference recognition. Liza Hoglo was named second team all-conference. Hailey Longtin received first team all-conference honors, as did Marcisa McMillan, who was also named the most valuable player of the conference. Head Coach Dennis Hutter was named the NSAA Coach of the Year.

A group Mayville State supporters plans to make the trek to Sioux City to be a part of the national tournament excitement live and in person. Those who stick close to home are invited to join in watching the games at Mayville State. The games will be streamed live and shown on the big screen. Locations are yet to be determined, but we’ll do our best to get the word out to you. Whether at the game in person or listening and/or watching from afar, all Comet boosters will be with the team in spirit!

Participating in a national tournament is an incredible honor and accomplishment. We are so very proud of our coaches, athletes, and fans who are representing Mayville State as a class act at the national tournament. Go, Comets!