For Minot State University women's basketball coach Sheila Green Gerding, the most valuable part of the Beavers' public practice Friday night might have been her team's execution of a choreographed dance to Korean rapper Psy's pop hit "Gangnam Style."
"That was actually kinda fun because we prepared together and did something as a team, so that was good," Green Gerding said. "Just getting out, especially for our six freshman - just getting out and playing in front of the crowd is kind of fun for 'em."
The purpose of the event at the MSU Dome was introducing an estimated 300 Beaver fans to some fresh faces on the men's and women's teams. The men have six new players and four coming off redshirt seasons, and the women have have six freshmen, a junior college transfer and a Division II transfer who sat out last year.
Minot State University junior Isiah Gandy prepares to flush the ball during a dunk competition at the Beavers' open practice Friday at the MSU Dome. The 6-foot guard won the contest.
In addition to the dance-off, each team staged a 3-point contest and the men added a dunk competition. Senior Sacarra Molina won the women's shooting contest, but was bested in the final by men's champion Dominique McDonald.
McDonald, a 6-foot freshman guard from Raleigh, N.C., was also a bright spot in the Beavers' 10-minute intrasquad scrimmage. He knocked down a pair of 3s, scored a layup in transition and followed a steal in the backcourt with a nifty assist.
"He's a typical young guy that's up and down a little too much right now, but he's one of those guys that's got a fast heartbeat," MSU men's coach Matt Murken said. "He's all over the place, and I like guys like that. He's got a chance to be a pretty decent player for us."
Said McDonald: "I'm just gonna bring hard defense and try to bring competitiveness to the team. Try to control and try to lead them as a freshman."
The women's scrimmage was sloppy at the start as players struggled to find their jump shot. The Beavers' tallest player, 6-foot-3 freshman Savana Kingsbury, eventually drained two 3-pointers.
"She shoots it better than we thought," Green Gerding said. "Somebody told me, 'She's been hiding on us.' I said 'She hasn't been hiding, she just never gets the ball.' "
The men's squads totaled five 3-pointers in the opening two minutes, 30 seconds of their scrimmage and shot a decent percentage the rest of the way.
"We haven't had much scrimmaging on the practice court," Murken said. "It looked like they were having fun and that's the main thing."
Junior Isiah Gandy beat senior Josh Johnson in the dunk contest final by finishing all three of his attempts to Johnson's two.
Glyn Borel, a junior wide receiver on the football team, won the student dunk competition by throwing down a 360-degree, between-the-legs attempt on an 8-foot hoop.
The men's team hosts Another Level Blue Angels, a barnstorming team of former college and professional players, in an exhibition Friday at 8 p.m.
The women scrimmage Williston State and Lake Region State on Saturday.