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DWU women’s basketball team adds 16 players

They are big, they are small and they are deep — they are the 2014-15 Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball recruiting class.

The class features 16 players, which is the largest recruiting class since coach Jason Christensen took over the program four years ago. The group includes 11 South Dakotans, seven of which are Mitchell area kids.

“I know coach Christensen fairly well,” said Avon’s Chesney Nagel who chose Wesleyan over Northern State and Mount Marty. “He has done a couple of basketball camps at my school the last few years. I like his intensity as a coach and I am looking forward to playing for him.”

Christensen has been busy rounding up some of the state’s best players. His 2014-15 class includes Class A first-team all-state selections Josie Huber and Madison Kuehl. Huber, a senior from Vermillion averaged 18 points and eight rebounds per game, while Kuehl played for West Central and averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. They will be joined by Class B all-state selections in Nagel and Grayson Gruenhagen.

Nagel, earned first-team honors, after averaging 17.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Gruenhagen, a De Smet High School senior averaged 10.5 points and five rebounds per game.

“I am excited to get the opportunity to play for coach Christensen,” Chamberlain’s Abbey Handel said. “I like being close to home and I liked the DWU campus and the basketball program. I think playing with some of my former competitors will be fun. I am interested in seeing how different it is. I only know a few girls, but there are plenty of good players and I hope to learn from them.”

The class also features players who competed in this year’s South Dakota state basketball tournaments, like Kimball/White Lake’s Jazmyn Hinker, Winner’s Sara Husher and Sanborn Central/Woonsocket’s Rachel Selland. The rest of the class includes Amber and Ashley Bray from Anoka, Minn.; Sam Forslund from Chicago Lakes, Minn.; Elise Hadley, from Watford City, N.D.; Chloe Nielsen from Canistota; Tyra Patzlaff from Tyndall; Shanna Selby from Faith; and Alexis Swanson from South St. Paul, Minn.

“I am really excited to play at DWU, "Nagel said. “I have gotten to know quite a few of the girls and the ones that I have met before are really nice girls. I know it is going to be a blast.”

Christensen did not return phone calls from The Daily Republic.