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Eric Peterson, Published February 19 2013

Thesing has been versatile for Cobbers women's basketball team

Moorhead - Emily Thesing grew up on a farm near Brainerd, Minn., and still gets residuals from that upbringing thanks to her grandpa.

“She is an absentee farmer,” Janelle Thesing, Emily’s mom, said with a laugh.

George Thesing cares for Emily’s flock of sheep on his farm and lets his granddaughter reap the benefits.

“When he sells the lambs, he lets Emily have that check,” said Dan Thesing, Emily’s dad.

Thesing is a lot more hands on when it comes to her basketball career.

The 5-foot-7 senior point guard averages 12.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for Concordia. Thesing ranks second in scoring and assists on a team that has had a breakthrough season.

The Cobbers (20-5) won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season crown – the team’s first time since 1989-90 – to earn the top seed for the conference playoffs. They host a MIAC semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Auditorium.

“I don’t know if it has sunk in completely because we still have a lot of business we have to take care of,” Thesing said of winning the conference. “It shows what kind of team we are.”

Thesing was involved in 4-H since she was about 5 years old. Sheep and cattle were among the animals she showed.

When George was going to cut back on the animals on his farm, Emily wanted him to keep some sheep so she could use them for 4-H.

Even after Emily stopped 4-H, George still took care of her sheep.

“He does everything for me,” Emily said with a smile. “I think it’s more for him than a hobby.”

Emily has been a do-it-all player for the Cobbers in her final season with her scoring, playmaking and rebounding. Head coach Jessica Rahman said Thesing’s value to the team goes beyond what shows up in the stat sheet.

“It’s been a lot of those intangible things that coaches love to have on the team,” Rahman said. “She’s been a great leader on the floor. I think a great quarterback for the team, that basketball IQ that you want.”

Thesing is not afraid to show emotion on the court. After fellow senior Tricia Sorensen recently scored the 1,000th point in her career, Thesing hugged Sorensen as the two were heading back to the defensive end of the court. Thesing got the assist on the milestone basket.

“She is pretty intense and excited when she makes a big play or anyone makes a big play,” Sorensen said. “She plays with a lot of emotion.”

Thesing honed a good portion of her playing skills on her family farm, which is coincidentally on Thesing Road. Dan said when Emily wasn’t helping with chores, shooting baskets is where his daughter could be found. In elementary and middle school, Thesing played basketball with boys before school and after school.

“She always had a ball in her bag,” Dan said. “She never forgot her basketball. She would forget her books.”

Janelle said when Emily was in fifth grade, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a caravan stop in Brainerd. Sam Mitchell, a former Wolves player, told Emily that she needed to tie her right hand behind her back. That way she could work on improving her left-handed dribbling skills.

“The entire summer she dribbled and shot with her left hand,” Janelle said. “That was kind of funny and that kind of stuck with her.”

Thesing has 845 points, 323 rebounds, 214 assists and 109 3-pointers in her Concordia career through the regular season. She has the knack for making highlight shots, whether is a 3-point attempt from long range, a fading jumper or an off-balanced floater in the lane.

“She has some ‘Emily’ shots,” Sorensen said with a smile, “shots that no one really else takes.”

Thesing has relished her final collegiate season because of the chemistry on this team.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to play with these girls,” she said. “I’m very lucky to go out with this being the last team I’m going to be on.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com