The eighth coach in program history, Emilee Thiesse (Spearfish, S.D.) made an immediate impact for the Minnesota State women’s basketball team in 2012-13, posting the second-most wins in program history in her inaugural campaign with a record of 26-6, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Central Region Tournament. Through her six seasons at MSU, Thiesse has compiled a 108-68 (.613) record including a 60-22 (.731) record at home in Taylor Center.
Thiesse brought with her an up-tempo offense that proved to be the highest-scoring offense in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference averaging over 76 points per game while posting a league-high .433 field goal percentage. The Mavericks also led the conference in turnover margin posting a +6.31 average for the duration of the 2012-13 campaign.
The 2013-14 season saw another 20-win season for the Mavericks as Thiesse guided MSU to a 23-6 overall record, including an 18-4 NSIC record, to bring her overall record at MSU to 49-12.
As a team, MSU boasted the highest-scoring offense in the NSIC during the 2013-14 season, averaging 82.5 points per game, while shooting .431 from the field. The Mavericks also led the conference in steals with an average of 11.55 steals per game. MSU also boasted the best turnover margin in the conference for the second straight season with a mark of +7.41.
One season later, the Mavericks found themselves back in the NCAA Tournament after putting together a 21-10 overall record, marking the first time in program history that the women’s basketball team has won at least 20 games in three straight seasons. The Mavericks would finish their 2014-15 season tied for second in the NSIC standings with a 16-6 league record.
MSU would finish third in the NSIC in scoring during the 2014-15 season as it averaged 73 points per game. The Mavericks would continue their home dominance in Taylor Center as they finished the year boasting a 13-1 record at home.
The 2015-16 season saw two players in Britney Scherber and Claire Ziegler claim All-NSIC Second Team honors for their efforts. Ziegler finished her sophomore season in the top-15 of the NSIC in both scoring and rebounding. Ziegler’s 8.4 rebounds per game ranked third in the NSIC.
The 2016-17 season saw the Mavericks put together a 16-11 overall record, including a 12-10 mark in NSIC competition. MSU won nine of its final 14 games of the season, including a 78-71 road victory over #23 Winona State, which saw freshman Taylor Klug record a season-high 21 points, while junior Claire Zieger notched a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Klug was later named to the All-NSIC Freshman Team. As a team, the Mavericks sat atop the NSIC in rebounding with 43.5 rebounds per game and ranked second in scoring with an average of 73.4 points per game.
The Mavericks finished the 2017-18 season with a 13-17, including a 10-12 record in NSIC competition. MSU finished the regular season winning six of its final eight games, including a 4-0 record at Taylor Center during that stretch. Seniors Claire Jordan and Claire Ziegler would go on to receive All-NSIC Second Team honors for their efforts during the season. Ziegler also became the 22nd member of the MSU 1,000 point club as she finished her four-year career at Minnesota State with 1,001 points and 643 rebounds in 95 games played. As a team, MSU led the NSIC in offensive rebounds as it averaged 14 a game. The Mavericks also finished second in the conference in steals as they averaged 9.2 steals a game.
The 2017-18 season also saw MSU thrive in the classroom as 10 Mavericks were named to the NSIC All-Academic Team. As a team, Minnesota State received WBCA Academic Top-25 honors as it boasted a team GPA of 3.611, which ranked 20th in Division II and fourth in the NSIC.
Along with the team’s success on the court, the Mavericks have been just as successful in the classroom during Thiesse’s five seasons. In total, MSU women’s basketball players have received 49 NSIC All-Academic Team honors. MSU also boasted the third-highest team GPA (3.728) in NCAA Division II during the 2016-17 season.
Prior to joining MSU, Thiesse spent three seasons at South Dakota State where she served as recruiting coordinator and academic coordinator for the Jackrabbits. SDSU made three consecutive NCAA Division I postseason tournament appearances and won three straight Summit League titles while compiling a 65-34 overall record.
Prior to re-joining the Jackrabbit staff where she had worked as a graduate assistant coach from 2004-06, Thiesse spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Drake, helping guide the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and a WNIT appearance in 2008. In her three seasons at Drake, the Bulldogs compiled a 56-42 overall record.
Thiesse, played collegiately at Nebraska-Kearney from 2000-03 where the Lopers won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference East Division titles and qualified for the NCAA Division II postseason each of her four years. While finishing degrees in mathematics and physical education, she served as a student assistant at UNK for the 2003-04 season. Thiesse earned a master’s degree in sports pedagogy from SDSU in the spring of 2006.
The daughter of former Spearfish and Madison High School basketball coach Tim Gusso, Thiesse’s sister, Amy Williams, is the women’s basketball coach at the University of Nebraska.
Thiesse, her husband Brandon and their children Tadlee, Trinlee and Taxton reside in Mankato.