Women’s basketball coach Mariah LaPointe-Dunham dropped by Finlandia Fridays this week to talk about her favorite pastime, basketball. LaPointe-Dunham, who was hired just prior to the fall semester, has jumped into her position as head coach.
“It’s been quite an adventure for me, kind of being hired on the spot and having about a week to prepare for a season and get to know my athletes at the same time,” stated LaPointe-Dunham. Despite the craziness of the position and getting settled in the area, Coach LaPointe-Dunham remarked, “One thing I was really happy about was how accepting the girls were to the change and the attitudes they had towards me.”
Originally from Wisconsin, LaPointe-Dunham played both Division I and Division II basketball. A big fan of the Upper Peninsula, LaPointe-Dunham mentioned, “Once I got up here, playing my senior year at Northern (Michigan University) really opened my eyes to such a great area and a great place.” LaPointe-Dunham has coached around the U.P. within the past several years, coaching both boys and girls basketball at Baraga High School and assisting at both Lake Superior State University and Northern Michigan. In 2017, Coach LaPointe-Dunham started Level Up Express, an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball club for female basketball players in the U.P. LaPointe-Dunham started the club to help players be noticed by college coaches. The club started with two teams and has since expanded to five, with several former players playing at the Division II and Division III levels.
With the season off to a rough start, LaPointe-Dunham is excited to start building a solid program at Finlandia. The team currently has four upper classmen and eight freshmen. LaPointe-Dunham said her upper classmen are great leaders and great people for the program’s foundation. With a difficult schedule, LaPointe-Dunham is hoping between traveling and academics, her players are building harder mentalities to help them with the rest of their season. The team heads to DePauw, Indiana this weekend, while hosting several home games in early January.
Along with coaching, LaPointe-Dunham is working with the Paavo Nurmi Center gym to gain more public interest. The gym is open to the public, and is a top-tier facility. Memberships are available. To see what the Paavo Nurmi Center has to offer, check out the links below.
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