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Dale finishing strong at St. Ben’s

Morgan Dale, a former standout at Jamestown High, is averaging a double-double in her final season at the College of Saint Benedict. (Photo courtesy/College of St. Benedict )

After suffering a concussion early in her junior season, Morgan Dale was redshirted and granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA.

Although it was a tough choice, Dale eventually decided to come back for another season to help lead the College of St. Benedict’s women’s basketball team to the postseason.

“I was unsure about going to school for another full year, but once I made my decision to come back I was excited for the season to start and to spend time with a great group of individuals,” said Dale, a former Miss Basketball finalist at Jamestown High School. “I would think about my decision to play or not 20 years from now and I would have definitely regretted passing up on the opportunity to play another season of the game I’ve loved since I was a little girl.”

Dale, who is majoring in elementary education, has appeared in every game since being a part of the team, and has been racking up solid stats this season. After leading the team and finishing fourth in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 7.3 rebounds per game last year, Dale has come back this season to lead the MIAC with an average of 11.4 rebounds per game. She also averages 9.9 points per game, which puts her very close to averaging a double-double in every game this season.

When asked about her success this year, Dale said, “knowing that this season is going to be the final opportunity that I’ll ever have to play a game that has been a part of my life for so long has motivated me to do my best, not only for myself, but also for my teammates.”

After receiving her second concussion very early in the 2011-2012 season, Dale said that the process of returning seemed like it took forever.

“I couldn’t wait to feel healthy and get back to playing competitively again,” she said.

Dale plays in her final regular-season game today for the 12-12 Blazers as they host St. Thomas (Minn.), which is ranked No. 18 in NCAA Division III.

Dale leads the Blazers in rebounding at 11.8 per game. She’s also third in scoring at 10 per contest and has started all 23 games she’s played in this season. She leads the MIAC in rebounding.

“I wasn’t sure what my season would look like after returning from my concussions, but I just figured I should probably just try my hardest and see what I can make of it,” she said.

Besides her statistical success this season, Dale has also been a leader on the team and attributes much of her success to her team.

“Although I am proud of those statistical placements, it would not be possible without having my teammates by my side on the court. Those accomplishments are something that I strive for to benefit the team.”

As a captain of the team, Dale has enjoyed her role as a team leader.

“I want them to know that I believe in their abilities. Obviously they are playing basketball at the collegiate varsity level because they have the skills to do so. Therefore, I just try to remind them that I have confidence in everything they do on the court,” she said.

The MIAC tournament begins on Tuesday and Dale said the team’s goals are clear.

“Win the remainder of our games and make it to the playoff tournaments,” she said. “Then win the tournament.”

Pat McCabe is a member of the athletics media relations staff at the College of St. Benedict