Jordan Bruursema has turned out to be a great pickup by the Montana State University-Northern Skylights basketball team. Not that there was ever a doubt of what she would bring to the table, but this year especially, Bruuresma has really stepped into a leadership role for MSU-N.
Bruursema is a junior post player for the Skylights that grew up in Reed Point. During her prep career she was perimeter player, but made the transition down low last season, going where the team needed her. But that didn’t slow her down, as Bruuresma has continued to improve each and every season.
In high school she was three-time All-State player who helped her team to back-to-back Class C state titles. She was a big pickup by the Skylights, and has been making noise ever since. Last year she averaged 8.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, still finding her way in the post game. But this season she has been a force in the paint, shooting 42 percent from the field and 82 percent from the foul line. She is also averaging over five rebounds per game this season, as well as over 13 points per game. Bruuresma also has a season high 25 points in one game, and 10 rebounds in another.
Now heading into the post season, Bruursema will look to continue to lead the Skylights into a run at the Frontier title.
Here's five questions for Bruuresma who, with the Skylights could play their final home game tonight against Western.
HDN: What was the team atmosphere and chemistry like early in the season, as the Skylights got off to such a hot start?
Bruursema: “We take a retreat every year at the beginning of the season. We go out to the Bear Paws and just spend a couple of days getting to know each other and doing all sorts of different activities. This year the atmosphere seemed so different, because when we came into the season it was like we all already knew each other. This team clicked so well, that before practices even started we loved being around each other. That kind of team chemistry is amazing and it absolutely carries out onto the floor. It was just amazing connecting so well with teammates, and I have never been a part of team quite like that; it was quite the blessing.”
HDN: You guys had a lot of big wins this year, in conference and outside of the conference, what do you think the biggest statement win was?
Bruursema: “Before our conference season we beat Minnesota State University Moorhead, which they are a very tough team and were ranked. I think they came in thinking they could roll us, but we got the win. And obviously in conference, knocking off the No. 9 team in the Nation (LC State), you can’t beat that. We have had a lot of really good wins this season, but those are definitely my top two.”
HDN: From what you accomplished last year, to this year’s No. 3 regular season conference finish, what was the biggest factor in the team’s positive strides forward?
Bruursema: “We have all gotten along with teammates before, and have been close, but again, I think this year, there is just something about our team chemistry. It is just unmatched to any team I have ever been on, and we have so many contributors. We have a great bench and when they come into the game, they are a spark for us every game. All ten of us that play contribute someway and somehow, and I think that is important, we are the full package and everything meshes together so well.”
HDN: After suffering two tough losses to UM-Western during the regular season, how badly do you and the rest of the Skylights want this playoff win over the Bulldogs?
Bruursema: “Since we got back from our LC/Westminster trip we have been looking forward to the playoff. The third time is the charm, it is hard to beat a team three times and we are going in there with some adjustments made, and I feel like we will match up really well. They are talented and will be hard to beat, but we are going to go in with home court advantage, which is awesome at the Armory with great fans, a great community and with so much student support. We just have to be confident and though it is going to be a battle, we just have to know that we can play with these guys.”
HDN: Is there anything specific you tried to focus on during the off season and during this season overall to help better your game?
Bruursema: “I grew up playing on the perimeter my entire life, but last year coach called me in and told me he needed me to play post and told me that was going to be my new role. I accepted that and a big part of plying inside, especially in a tough Frontier Conference, is strength and being physical. My major focus, especially this summer was to build my strength so I could compete with girls a lot bigger than me. But speed was a big one too, because playing a 6-3 girl, you have to be quicker than them to get around them. Coach Jake Eldridge (defensive coordinator/strength and conditioning) and coach Khalin Anderson (defensive backs/strength and condition) from the football team really helped out with my strength training this summer and that was big for me coming into this season.”