Heise likes playing for a winner at Tech

HOUGHTON – Even after graduating from Michigan Tech, former standout point guard Sam Hoyt continues to rack up the assists.

Because when Brenna Heise – a 5-foot-11 guard/forward out of New London, Wis., – sat down to examine her options for college hoops, there was one major question the recruit asked herself.

“I just wanted to know if the schools I was looking at could compete for a national championship?” Heise said. “I knew coming in I didn’t want to pick a college that got 10 wins a year. I wanted to compete for a national championship. That is the big thing.”

Thus, with 31-3 record to their name and a spot in the national championship game in 2011, Hoyt, Lisa Staehlin, Lucy Dernovsek, Angela Guisfredi and the rest made the decision easy for Heise.

The incoming freshman enjoyed nearly unparalleled team success in high school -winning 68 games in a row from her sophomore season through her senior year and collecting two consecutive Division 2 state titles in Wisconsin – and Tech best fit the bill to continue her winning ways.

“The winning tradition was huge,” Heise said. “They have been really good recently, and really good for a long time. I just love how much they win.”

In high school, it was Heise’s versatility that helped propel New London – as a senior she averaged 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists per game – and it was that wide-ranging skill set that caught head coach Kim Cameron’s eye.

At a long 5-foot-11, Heise can handle the ball like a guard but can score in the post and beyond the three-point line.

She projects as a ‘three’ in the college game, but believes she can handle positions two-through-four defensively.

Cameron already enjoyed unleashing now-sophomore and 6-foot guard Dani Blake – a prototypical matchup nightmare – on the GLIAC this season and Heise’s diverse game should give her more flexibility in the future.

“You don’t see too many 5-foot-11 guards at this level, so I think that length is a huge advantage,” Heise said. “I really like the three position because it gives you options. If your defender is smaller, you can take them in the post, and if they are bigger, you can work from the outside.”

Heise has gotten a head start on the transition from the high school to the college game, moving up to Houghton in late June to take a summer class and get in the gym with her new teammates.

She said the initial shock at the size and the speed of the game has already worn off, and the intricacies of the college level are starting to click.

“I knew coming in everyone would be better, but it was still a little shocking how much faster and bigger everyone is here. Everyone can play,” Heise said.

“But once you get used to it, it’s just basketball. Then you can focus on the little things – I’ve been learning how we guard screens and stuff like that – and getting stronger in the weight room.”

With Blake, Jillian Ritchie and Kate Glodowski all projecting ahead of Heise at the three/four spot on the roster, it may take a singular preseason effort for the freshman to earn some playing time this year.

But as long as she can lace up for practice each day, Heise will be happy this season.

“I just love going to the gym,” Heise said. “If there is any time I can get to go the gym at all, I am all for it. I am all about basketball.”