Two Alaska women help college hoop teams earn postseason berths

March 18, 2014

Mary Klapperich BasketballIt’s been a remarkable rookie season with the Southern Utah University women’s basketball team for Wasilla’s Mary Klapperich.

Southern Utah has already bagged a school record 22 victories and now the most successful run in program history will continue with the team’s first appearance in the WNIT.

The T-birds [22-9] earned a share of the Big Sky regular season title.

Klapperich, of Colony High fame, is a 6-foot-1 freshman guard who wears jersey No. 2. She played in 10 games and averaged 5.8 minutes. She scored a total of 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

“Mary is one of the most well-rounded and hardest working players that we have ever had the opportunity to recruit,” Southern Utah coach JR Payne told the school’s website.

“Her work ethic and determination will be a tremendous asset to our program from the minute she steps on campus next fall. We believe that Mary’s versatility and skill set will give her the opportunity to have an immediate impact on our perimeter play next season.”

Keiahnna Engel BasketballAnother Alaska woman going dancing this postseason is Anchorage’s Keiahnna Engel of Boise State of the Big Sky.

The Broncos [17-13] will have their season extended with an invitation to the WBI for the first time. Boise State hadn’t been to the postseason since the WNIT in 2008.

Engel, of Dimond High fame, is a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard who wears jersey No. 21. She has started all 30 games and averages 7.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 23 minutes.

“We are excited to keep playing this spring and to be a part of this tournament,” coach Gordy Presnell told the school’s website. “I truly believe this will help our program down the road as we prepare for next year.”

Engel has reached double figures eight times, highlighted by her career-high 17 points against Nevada. Twice she scored 15 against Air Force.