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Makins brings the finesse to LSSU's post game

Danielle Makins

Feb. 1, 2008

By LINDA BOUVET, LSSU Sports Information Director

Senior center Danielle Makins is the chameleon of the Lake Superior State basketball team.

LSSU's four veteran post players - Makins, Alyssa VanderWal, Annie Dykhouse and Jaclyn Armstrong - are hard to miss in the scouting report, but they keep opponents off-balance with their varied arsenal. Like the slippery reptile that changes colors in order to adapt to its surroundings, Makins adjusts her style of play to the circumstances of the game and personnel on the court. Sometimes she is responsible for stopping the opposition's big, physical center, and at other times she's keeping pace with a guard.

"Every time I'm in the game, I know I have to be a steady force on offense and defense," said Makins, who is the lone senior post player. "When I have to guard more of a guard position as compared to a post player, I know they'll be quicker and that will be a challenge for me. I know I have to give them more room. If it's a post, I know it will be more physical and I'll have to battle, box out and crash the boards hard. I like having that challenge, knowing that whoever I guard, I'll have to step up and defend her."

Through four seasons, Makins has become familiar with her opposition. She knows what is expected of her, but feels most-comfortable when the Lakers can run.

"We've always prided ourselves in getting up and down the floor," she said. "I know a lot of the players, but every game is different and has a different game plan."

On the offensive end, Makins averages 6.2 ppg and shoots 54 percent from the field. When she's on the court with VanderWal, she likes to lob the ball into her 6-3 teammate. Armstrong often attracts double coverage, which gives Makins more scoring options, especially along the base line. Together, Makins, VanderWal and Armstrong are shooting 53 percent from the field. Dykhouse hasn't seen as much playing time as the other three post players, but Makins described the post foursome as a "unit."

"We've relied on Danielle for a lot of leadership and to take over certain parts of games this season," LSSU coach Jamie Pewinski said. "She's had to step into a new role and take more on her shoulders. She is a lot stronger than she appears, and she can play stronger. When she was younger, she had a couple injuries and was sick. This year, she has stayed healthy and is battling down there. She has a long reach and knows what to do. She is more of a finesse player, but she can play physical too."

"My problem has always been that I'm not as aggressive as I should be on the offensive end," Makins said. "I've learned a few moves that have helped boost my confidence and made me want to play more aggressively."

The area in which she has gained the most during the past four years: mental toughness.

"You can push yourself so much more than you think you can," she added. "The biggest thing coming into this program is knowing what was set up before us, the standards that were put into place. This team is so disciplined and works so hard. Every year my role has changed a lot. I went from a reserve to a starter to having to step up in big games. Being a part of the NCAA and GLIAC tournaments, I can't ask for more. I'm always proud to say I am a Laker. It's been a great experience, and I've learned so much."

Makins, a Grosse Ile, Mich., native who is one of six siblings, is celebrating her birthday on Senior Day - Feb. 2.

"I'm excited about having a young team that formed a bond right away and having that team chemistry," Makins said. "All post-season and into this pre-season, that's what we focused on. We've been working hard, and everyone is underestimating us, except ourselves...We're going to keep fighting until the end and keep improving."

Lake Superior State Women's Basketball
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