By Eric Lear
First-year women’s basketball coach Mandy Pearson is no stranger to success in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).
Pearson played four years at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. She was named the MIAC MVP twice and received All-Region honors twice. Pearson had a stellar senior season, which landed her a spot on the Division III All-American team. She ranked second in the nation with 7.4 assists per game and led the MIAC with 3.1 steals per game in her last year as a Cobber.
After her successful career as a Cobber, she spent two years as an assistant coach at Hamline University. Pearson helped the Pipers finish with an above .500 record for the third time in school history and earn their first-ever MIAC playoff berth.
Pearson, who is the only player in Cobber history to score over 1,000 points and dish out over 500 assists in a career, is prepared to bring her past successes to Saint Mary’s University. “We have many little goals that will help us reach our big goals,” Pearson said.
According to Pearson, the team got together and made several goals such as: to shoot 70 percent from the free-throw line, to out rebound their opponents, and to have a team G.P.A of 3.2 or above. The team also has a poster in the lockerroom stating their goals game by game. All of those goals will help the women’s basketball team to reach their long-term goal of finishing in the top five in the MIAC.
Pearson said that her experience in the MIAC will be valuable to the Cardinals’ success. “[The experience] will help in scouting reports,” Pearson said. She went on to say her MIAC experience as a player will help her to understand when to push and when not to push her players.
“It will be hard coaching against players that I have played with and coached,” Pearson said. “But it will be fun to beat them.”
The Cardinals’ next game is at home at 6 p.m. against Coe College on Wednesday, Jan. 2.