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Dave Selvig / Forum News Service, Published March 06 2013

Steele has been a perfect fit with Jimmies women

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – According to Hannah Steele, one of the running jokes on the Jimmies women’s basketball team is her style of play.

Whether it’s sometimes out of control, free-wheeling or free-styling, one thing is for certain, it works.

“That’s kind of what everyone likes to joke about; like I don’t know what I’m doing,” said the

5-foot-4 junior from Circle Pines, Minn. “Maybe there’s something to it, I’m not sure.

“I like to think there’s a method to the madness, so to speak. … It usually works out OK.”

That point can’t be argued.

Since Steele took over the Jamestown offense as a freshman, the Jimmies are 74-18. She was an All-American as a freshman, and has helped the 12th-ranked Jimmies (27-5) back to nationals for the second straight year. They play Menlo, Calif. (26-3) today at 1:45 p.m. in opening-round action in Sioux City, Iowa.

In her three seasons, Steele has scored 913 points and dished out a whopping 424 assists.

Greg Ulland plugged Steele into the quarterback spot in his first season as head coach and turned her loose.

“I don’t tell her what to do. Even if I did, she wouldn’t listen anyway,” Ulland joked recently. “But, we’re very happy to have her.”

Steele is averaging 10.1 points, 4.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals and is likely on her way to her second All-American honor.

Her pass-first style is a perfect fit for Ulland’s system, which features a lot of post touches, a lot of 3s and a bunch of people scoring.

Bridget Schuneman, Steele’s high school teammate, leads the Jimmies in scoring at 11.79 points per game. Carly Jensen (10.74) is the only other player in double figures, but nine more girls average 3.5 per game or more.

If someone’s open, Steele is likely to get them the ball.

“The way she controls the game and gets the ball to the right people in the right spot is pretty uncanny,” Ulland said. “She’s playing at a very high level.”

The familiarity within the roster certainly helps.

Steele, Schuneman, Jensen, Amber Ramlo and Morgan Mathison have each started at least 29 games this season. Kayla Roemmich (4) is the only other player to start this season. They were together last season too when they advanced to the Sweet 16.

“The pieces fit really well this year,” Steele said. “We’ve all been together so long. That certainly helps.”

The Jimmies face a similar team to them today in Menlo, Calif. The Oaks score almost 80 points per game, give up just 60 and have nine players averaging nearly five points per game or more.

Regardless of the opponent, Steele says the Jimmies are confident, and for good reason. They’ve lost just three times since Jan. 1 and have not had a losing streak in more than two seasons.

“It’s hard to know what will happen, but we are playing with a lot of confidence,” Steele said. “I feel like we can beat anybody. Our goals are pretty high, and they should be.”

David Selvig is the sports editor for the Jamestown (N.D.) Sun