CollegeMontana State Bobcats


The motor behind the Montana State women: Marah Dykstra and how her time with Team Canada paid off

Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 12:38:31-05

BOZEMAN — Sophomore forward Marah Dykstra can 'do it all' for the Montana State women.

She's a post player who leads her team in assists, which isn't something you see every day. Her high IQ, mixed with her heightened ability to score this season, has been a much-needed combination for the Bobcats.

Dykstra attributes her ability to distribute the ball at such a high level to her time with Team Canada at the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup this past summer, where she and her teammates captured the bronze medal.

"Playing with the national team this summer helped me develop because I was playing on a team with a lot of big superstars, and I just had to be that role player to help put all the big pieces together, and so I’ve been really trying to translate that this year with this team," Dykstra explained.

She worked so well in that elite system that Bobcats coach Tricia Binford and her staff utilized it to Montana State’s benefit.

"That was a component when she came back, and we were adjusting our offense," Binford reflected on when the team came back together in preseason. "We wanted to put some of the components in that they were running, just because she was so good at it."

As this season progressed, Dykstra has quickly had to step into an expanded role with multiple season-ending injuries.

She’s second on the team in scoring, with just about 11 points per game — on top of her impressive playmaking abilities.

"We’ve had a lot of injuries with our leaders, especially in scoring," Dykstra noted. "So struggling with injures, I’ve just have had to step up into that role.

"If my my team needs me to score, I have to step up and do that, so whatever it takes to get a win."

Binford explained what Dykstra means to the team.

"She makes our offense work," Binford said. "She makes our defense work. She’s somebody that we’ve come to rely on in every facet.

"When we talk about our first core value as a Bobcat, it’s being reliable, and Marah we kind of check that off in every statistical category."

The post depth has been hit most by injuries this season, which has senior forward Taylor Janssen and Dykstra sharing a lot of minutes on the court together.

Janssen was somebody Dykstra leaned on both on and off the court once she arrived to Bozeman — something that’s paid off this season.

"Taylor’s been someone that I’ve really grown because of," Dykstra said. "Immediately I came here and she kind of took me under her wing. Her and Lexi (Deden) both did a really good job of helping me build up, and now I’m playing with them.

"Obviously, Lexi’s not in, and we really miss her a lot. Taylor’s really shown me maturity in my game I feel like, and super grateful to have her, and we’re coming together and playing together pretty well."

Binford explained the connection between the two post players.

"It’s kind of beyond a respect, so to speak," she said. "They’ve just had so many times together — whether it’s a breakdown drill, off the court, and finding each other, looking for each other, building each other up. You know, in that post rotation is probably where we’ve taken the most toll of injuries, through the post play. They’ve just had to rely on each other that much more."

A team motto this year is ‘United as One', an ode to the adversity they’ve overcome with the young core that’s stepped up, a group that Dykstra’s helped mentor. She’s the motor behind this team, and she leads by example.

"We’re not afraid of any fight," Dykstra said. "We’re not afraid of any veterans on any other team either. Although we’re young, I feel like we don’t play like it. Hopefully we’ll show that in Boise (at the Big Sky Conference tournament)."

The Montana State women finish the regular season at Weber State on Monday night.