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UMD basketball teams prepare for long-awaited return

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DULUTH, MN -- After nine long months of waiting, the UMD basketball teams will officially return to the court this weekend.

The Bulldog women are picked as preseason favorites in the NSIC, and return the conference preseason player of the year in Brooke Olson.

"I would say our confidence is really good. The best part is that we return all but two players, and we have some freshman who can do some really good things on the basketball court. In my opinion, almost every single person on our team came back better than when they left," said head coach Mandy Pearson.

Their season opener is set for Saturday, January 2 at Winona State. For the full UMD women's basketball schedule, click here.

The men's team will have a completely new look, after losing all-time leading scorer Brandon Myer and standout transfer Alex Illikainen.

Over half of their 2021 roster is made up of freshman, and includes only one upper-classmen (Mason Steffen).

"We had a lot of guys who had the luxary last year of, coming off the bench, they didn't need to score a ton, just because we were so much dominated by Myer and Illikainen," said head coach Justin Weick.

"We've got a ton of really talented freshman, they're all really long, athletic guys that can score the ball, guys that play extremely hard."

The men's opener is set for 2:00p.m. on Saturday at Romano Gym against Winona State. For the full UMD men's basketball schedule, click here.

Matt Halverson

Sports Anchor and Reporter

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