North Dakota State women's basketball head coach Carolyn DeHoff announced Wednesday, Nov. 13, the signing of Olivia Baker, McKenna Happke and Taylor Thunstedt to National Letters of Intent to attend North Dakota State University and play basketball beginning in fall 2014.
"We are most excited we identified these kids early in the recruiting process. We believe they have a high ceiling and will show Bison fans their freshmen-senior seasons what's in store for our program in the future," DeHoff said.
Baker, a 6-foot-4 post player from Minnetonka, Minn., is a four-year letterwinner on the basketball court at Minnetonka High School.
"Olivia Baker provides great size in our frontcourt with the graduation of Miki (Stephenson) and Catavia (Jones) and has the mobility to go along with her 6-4 frame. She also has good hands and a soft touch around the rim," DeHoff said.
She has played varsity basketball all four years at Minnetonka.
"I chose NDSU because it's close enough to home and my extended family in northern Minnesota," Baker said. "The campus environment was amazing as was the educational value. The basketball coaches stuck with me the whole recruiting process."
Happke, a 6-1 forward from Coon Rapids, Minn., is a two-time all-conference selection at Providence Academy in Plymouth, Minn.
"McKenna is a long athlete that is finding out more and more how good she can be. One of her best attributes is her ability to rebound out of area. She showed this summer that she can score inside and out," DeHoff said.
Happke was part of the 2012 Class 2A state champion basketball team, a member of the team that took fourth at the state tournament in 2011 and third at state last season. Happke has been named the team captain her upcoming senior year.
"I chose NDSU because I love the coaches, team, and campus. Ultimately, it feels like home to me," Happke said.
Thunstedt, a 5-8 guard from Spicer, Minn., is a three-time all-conference selection at New London-Spicer. She is also a three-time, first-team all-area honoree and garnered all-state accolades her sophomore and junior seasons after honorable mention as a freshman.
"Taylor is a dynamic scoring guard that can play both the point guard and off-guard positions. She has an incredible demeanor on the floor that carries over to her teammates," DeHoff said.
Thunstedt set a new single-game scoring record at New London-Spicer her junior year, scoring 50 points in a game against Glencoe-Silver Lake. She also set a new record for 3-pointers attempted in a season (119) and broke the all-time school scoring record. Thunstedt averaged 29 points and made 104 threes that year.
"There are many reasons I chose to come to NDSU, but the main reason is how the campus atmosphere made me feel. Going to a school where athletics and academics are important was a big thing for me," Thunstedt said. "NDSU couldn't be more perfect. The coaches and players are both great. I'm excited to build team chemistry and also work with the coaches to get better every day."
North Dakota State (1-0) plays at Maine at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 14, and Harvard at 2 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 16.