Opichka Signs to Play Basketball at St. Thomas

Opichka Signs to Play Basketball at St. Thomas

Will Drake, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

NDA senior Sammy Opichka signed her letter of intent and will play basketball at the University of  St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Opichka received offers from UWGB, Colgate and North Dakota but decided to take her talents to St.Thomas, the state’s largest private university with over 10,000 undergraduates.

St.Thomas is currently transitioning into a D1 program. A highly successful Division 3 program in years past, the NCAA Division I Council gave the Tommies an unprecedented waiver to jump from D3 to D1 and join the Summit League prior to the 2021-22 academic year.

Opichka said the location was a big part of her decision, but the D1 jump also factored into her decision.

”What separated St. Thomas from the others was the location in the Twin Cities, the size of the school and also being a part of the first Division 1 basketball team.”

Here at NDA Sammy played alongside her sister Lizzie her freshman year and started with four seniors as a freshman.

She has been first team FRCC and has totaled over 900 points in three seasons.

Opichka is currently in the top seven of NDA basketball players for most points scored in a career.

She earned All-State honors last year and helped lead the Tritons to the Division 2 state sectional finals. She also led the team on the defensive end, averaging 2.7 steals per game.

Opichka realized she wanted to pursue basketball her sophomore year when she tried out for an AAU team and fell in love with the game even more. 

She played for the AAU team Wisconsin Flight who has had other players go D-1 in the past.

One of Opichka’s coaches, NDA alum Eliza Campbell, weighed in on Sammy’s work ethic. 

“When I first saw Sammy play her sophomore year I knew if she wanted to play in college she could. She has the athleticism and skill. Once she made that choice and began playing more, she got a lot better and also gained a ton of confidence which began to show in her play.”

The Tritons will be returning two other players with all-conference nominations in Georgia Gregorie and Charley Apple.

Sammy and the Lady Tritons began practice this week for the 2021 season.