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Jimmies women's basketball show off local flare

The Jimmies' local players have combined for 152 of the team's 483 points through seven games.

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University of Jamestown's Hannah Hagel works her way between Dakota Wesleyan's Morgan Edelman (14) and Lacey Sprakel (52) on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, at Newman Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — The University of Jamestown women’s basketball program includes 10 players who are from North Dakota, including five on the varsity roster. Four of the five varsity players have played in all seven of the team’s games so far, scoring 152 of the team’s 483 points.

“We want to recruit the best local players,” Jimmies head coach Thad Sankey said. “We feel like from an experience, from a college experience perspective, a campus environment and obviously a college basketball experience, this is the best place for those basketball players to be, those North Dakota basketball players. So for us, we put a big emphasis on it and we’ve been really excited and happy about our local players that have come here and impacted our team and developed over the course of their career.”

The five local players on the varsity roster are Hannah Hagel, Jailyn Martinson, Audrey Rodakowski, Kate Busek and Madelyn Schmidt. Schmidt has yet to play this season because of a foot injury.

Schmidt said being closer her family in Steele, North Dakota, has helped her recover from the foot injury.

“Going through injuries is injuries,” Schmidt said. “My teammates, coaches and athletic trainer have been super helpful throughout this process. Having my family close and having the ability to go home has also played a big role throughout my recovery process and has helped me stay on track.”

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Carrington native Hagel is in her sophomore season with the Jimmies and is averaging 4.3 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game. She also has six total steals. Hagel said she came to the Jimmies because of the proximity to home and the size of Jamestown.

Hagel said she wasn’t looking to play anywhere else and made the decision to come play for the Jimmies when she was finishing her senior season with the Cardinals.

“After my senior year, we went to state and I was like, ‘I’m not ready to be done,’” Hagel said.

The recruiting process for Schmidt was different than most of her teammates because she knew all about the Jimmies because her sister, Paige, and brother Austin both played basketball for the Jimmies before she did.

Rodakowski, who is from Dickinson, North Dakota, said she knew she wanted to be a Jimmie as soon as she finished visiting the school. She said she was not looking to stay close to home but reconsidered when she thought about what would happen in certain situations when she would need her parents' help.

“I sat in my car and my mom was like, ‘Oh what did you think?’ I replied to her and said, ‘I want to go to school here.’ It was a feeling I guess you could say,” she said.

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The win pushes the Jimmies' lead in the GPAC out to 1.5 games.

Sankey said the program benefits from his players having friends, family and a support system around them both at games and in general.

“I think it’s fun to see the support that our players get from family members, from friends, from communities, and to be able to have those people involved in their experience is a really cool thing,” Sankey said. “So, I know our players love being connected and staying connected and seeing friends and family at games. It definitely makes our environment better whether it’s game day or not, if it’s just a regular Tuesday or Monday during the week, our players enjoy that.”

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Out of the 16 players on the varsity roster, 13 are from North Dakota or Minnesota, which Rodakowski said helps the team chemistry on and off the floor.

“It just helps the team dynamic fit so much more and you come in not feeling as a stranger,” Rodakowski said. “I didn’t play Jailyn in high school but I knew of her so I was like I already feel 10 times more comfortable coming to this team because of that.”

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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