Northern Star: Brooke Olson
For this week's segment, meet one of the young leaders on the UMD women's basketball team who has helped lead the Bulldogs to an undefeated NSIC record.
DULUTH, Minn. – The UMD women’s basketball team is coming off of its 11th overall NCAA Tournament appearance is picking up right where they left off. But after graduating two big pieces last year, the Bulldogs have very young leadership this season.
“We’ve got to keep getting better. We have young point guards and we’re still fairly youthful, which is exciting because we haven’t hit our peak yet,” head coach Mandy Pearson said.
One of those young leaders is forward Brooke Olson. While she’s just in her sophomore season, the Rice Lake native is already making a big impact.
“That was my goal in coming to Duluth, that’s what I picked it because coach really said that if you work hard, she’s going to give me the opportunity so I’m just really glad that she’s given me that and pushed me to be the best player I can be,” Olson said.
Olson was named to the NSIC All-Freshman Team last year and was the Bulldogs NSIC Preseason Player to watch. She’s already picked up one conference player of the week award this season and currently leads the team in scoring, averaging just over 16 points per game.
“She’s just going to keep getting better. She’s got this drive, she’s got big goals and she’s going to work for them. I think she, throughout her four years here at UMD, is going to keep getting better every single day because that was one of her goals. She said she wants to get one percent better every day and she pretty much does that,” Pearson said.
Olson is quick to point out that her success would not be possible without her teammates, who have made this another fun and successful year for the Bulldogs.
“We really made an emphasis to say we’re going to be best friends on and off the court, we’re going to be a family. That does come with some rocky roads because every family have their disputes and things like that, but it’s not letting that affect the overall chemistry and I think all of us genuinely care for one another and genuinely support one other and I think that’s what’s translated to the court,” Olson said.
But Olson’s own family has also played a big part in developing her into a player. Her dad, Forrest, played at UW-Oshkosh, while her mom, Darla, played at Michigan Tech. Her mom was also her coach at Rice Lake High School.
“She just worked me out over break too. It’s just a family thing. My sister is in high school and she plays so all of us are really passionate about the game which is so much fun. I absolutely loved it. Most players don’t like that because of maybe they’re a little tougher on them but my mom was really tough on me and she developed me into the player that I am now. It was such a blessing to have her as my coach during my high school years,” Olson said of her mom.
Olson developed a higher basketball IQ from her mom and see that translate to the court today.
“I just kind of developed that same mentality and same type of playing style,” Olson said.
“We were at Northern and all of a sudden we were running a play and I looked at my assistant coach and I’m like ‘did you call that’ and she said ‘no Brooke did.’ So she’s a great on the floor general,” Pearson added.
And now, Olson hopes to follow in the family footsteps and become a coach one day.
I’m in education right now so hopefully I can step into those shoes and try to get into that after I graduate,” Olson said.
But first, Olson has the rest of this year and two more with with the Bulldogs. And with UMD’s current 11-game win streak, her goals for this year seem even more possible.
“Big picture, I want to win a national championship. That’s always been a goal of mine, and to win a conference championship. That just comes with one game at a time. We’re just trying to execute game plans at this point, just become the best team that we can be and hopefully we can translate that into the end of the season and hopefully make a run this year, which I think that we are definitely capable of,” Olson said.