‘Diamond in the rough’: Pitsch leads Tigers in scoring during first season

Haidyn Pitsch ranks 10th in the GPAC in scoring, including second among freshmen.

121020.S.DR.WOMEN53 (1).jpg
Dakota Wesleyan University's Haidyn Pitsch, left drives to the hoops against Northwestern's Jazy Prinson Dec. 9 at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Haidyn Pitsch didn’t expect to be a focal point in Dakota Wesleyan University’s offense this year.

She displays visible confidence on the court with every drive to the hoop and 3-pointer taken, but even she had tempered expectations heading into her freshman season.

“I expected to maybe get in a few minutes every game, if that. If we were up or down by a lot,” she said. “But obviously, I’m happy to be where I’m at.”

Pitsch has found herself in rare territory to start her career. She became the first true freshman to start the season opener under coach Jason Christensen since Rylie Osthus during the 2015-16 season. He liked her scoring ability that fit perfectly into DWU’s fast-paced system, as she adds an extra dynamic to the Tigers with her ability to get past defenders off the dribble but also consistently score from 3-point range.

The 5-foot-5 guard scored a team-high 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting in her debut, and hasn’t left the starting five since.


It’s been a highlight-filled first nine games to her career, which has seen her lead the team in scoring four times en route to a team-high 14.2 points per game. She ranks 10th in the Great Plains Athletic Conference in scoring and second among GPAC freshmen.

“I knew she could score,” Christensen said about inserting her into the starting lineup. “I knew us graduating 95 percent of our scoring, we’d have to find somebody that can score. She can score when we need a basket.”

Christensen’s expectations for Pitsch have been high since he started to recruit her out of Prior Lake, Minnesota. She could score the ball as a 1,000-point scorer in high school, while also hustling on the court that’s translated to her grabbing 4.1 rebounds per game this year. He figured she’d have a similar trajectory to the Bray twins, who also hailed from Minnesota.

“People say, ‘Did you get lucky with the Bray’s?’ Well, we did in some sense, but we were watching them play. And the same thing with Haidyn,” Christensen said. “We might have gotten a little lucky on her, but we were watching her play. I think a lot of coaches in that area didn’t know what she could do.”

Graduate assistant Taylor Vasa contacted Pitsch, who couldn’t pass up the opportunity when she learned about DWU’s successful run in recent years. Now, Pitsch is in the forefront of helping maintain that high-level of play accustomed to the Tigers.

Even through a strong start, she’s focused on improving defensively and maintaining her consistency on the offensive end, though she ranks third with nine steals. Pitsch is shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from deep, while scoring in double-figures in all but one game, including at least 15 points four times this year.

“I just make sure to know what I’m capable of doing, and going out doing it every night and not being afraid,” Pitsch said. “Like yeah, these girls might be older than me, more experienced, but I know what I’m capable of and I’m confident in that.”

She’s shown plenty of confidence so far, helping her become the high-scoring guard Christensen envisioned.


“When we recruited her, I figured she was a diamond in the rough,” he said.

What To Read Next
Get Local