Grand Meadow’s Benson will play basketball at St. Cloud State

Published 5:20 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

GRAND MEADOW — One of Grand Meadow’s best is moving on.

After a season that saw her break almost every known basketball record for the Superlarks, GM senior Jessica Benson will be playing at St. Cloud State University, an NCAA Divison II school, next season after she signed a letter-of-intent to play there last week.

Benson received a partial scholarship from the Huskies who started recruiting her after this past season, which saw her average 24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 4.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks, while shooting 49 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.

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“They didn’t really show any interest until my season was over, which was fine,” said Benson, who had over 2,000 career points at GM. “I wanted to go to a bigger school rather than a smaller school just to get the experience.”

One of the biggest draws for Benson was SCSU’s head coach, Lori Fish.

“I really like the coach and she seemed easy to talk to it. That was a big part of (committing there),” Benson said.

Fish has one big thing in common with Benson as she played under GM head coach Dawn Baudoin in her high school career. While Baudoin was attending St. Cloud State University (where she played basketball for two years) she coached Fish at St. Cloud Tech High School.

“The one thing I like about Lori is she’s direct. There’s no games with her and she’s been honest with Jessica from the start,” Baudoin said. “She’s also very passionate about basketball and I could see a connection between her and Jessica.”

Coming from a small school, Benson is ready to prove herself when she gets to SCSU, which is the second largest University in Minnesota (with an enrollment of almost 17,000).

“I know I’m going to have to work hard to play. Especially when there’s so much more competition,” Benson said. “(My playing time) will depend on how practice goes and how every thing looks. They really haven’t told me much yet.”

Hard work is nothing new for Benson, who put in many hours to get where she is as a basketball player. Baudoin hopes that attitude rubs off on some of the future Superlarks.

“Most of the kids around here know the time she’s put in,” Baudoin said. “The opportunity (to play at the next level) is there for everyone, but you have to make it happen.”

Although Benson’s decision came late, Baudoin said it was the perfect time.

“A lot of schools told her she needed to make a decision right away and I’m just proud of how she waited it out and enjoyed her senior season,” she said. “I think (SCSU) will be a good fit for her.”

The Huskies went 22-9 overall last season and claimed the Northern Sun Conference Tournament title. They play in a Stadium which holds 6,400 fans.