Women’s hoops standout Ojala adding NMU Sports Hall of Fame to accolades

Editor’s Note:The following is the third of four profiles on the NMU Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014 provided by the NMU Athletic Department.

MARQUETTE – Former Northern Michigan University women’s basketball standout Shana (Decremer) Ojala will be inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday in the Great Lakes Room of the University Center in conjuction with the NMU Student-Athlete Awards Banquet that begins at 6 p.m.

Tickets for the evening are $20 for adults and can be purchased at the NMU Superior Dome Ticket Office or by calling 906-227-1032.

Ojala was a two-year letter winner who transferred to Northern Michigan for the 1995-96 and 96-17 seasons after playing the first two seasons of her collegiate career at Michigan Tech.

“Shana is the most competitive person I have ever met,” said Ojala’s NMU teammate Karla (Strand) McCutcheon. “The statistics she posted during her career at NMU speak to that. I’m so glad that she was on my team and that I didn’t have to play against her. She is the fiercest competitor I have ever been associated with. Her actions in the locker room, practice, and even during post-season play shows that she was one who brought it “every day.” For that I along with all of her teammates held her at the highest regard.”

Ojala led the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Elite 8 during her first season with the squad. That year, she was named the team’s Newcomer of the Year after leading the Wildcats to a 25-5 record and scoring a team high 474 points. She was also named to the GLIAC All-Defensive team.

The following season, Ojala again led the Wildcats back to the NCAA tournament while pacing NMU in scoring with 583 points and rebounding with 225. Her scoring total is the seventh most points scored in a single season by a NMU women’s basketball player.

Following her senior season, Ojala was named a First Team All-American and Player of the Year in the GLIAC. She also earned First Team All-GLIAC honors. She was named to the GLIAC All-Defensive team and selected the Wildcats’ Most Valuable Player.

“I’ve always regarded Shana as one of the hardest-working collegiate women’s basketball players I’ve ever seen,” said Craig Remsburg of the Mining Journal. “What she may have lacked in talent – which wasn’t much, since she was so good – she made up for with her desire. She didn’t yield an inch to anyone on the court. I’ve also seen her as a high school and college basketball referee.

“She’s talented in that part of the game, as well.”

Ojala became the 12th player in NMU school history to score 1,000 career points, finishing her career with 1,057, and was only the third player to achieve that feat in just two years.

In 2008, Ojala was named to the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame joining her grandfather, Ben Manning, who was inducted into the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 when Ojala was 14.

“It is pretty special because my kids are old enough to know what it means for me to be named to the NMU Sports Hall of Fame,” said Ojala. “We have looked at the plaques on the wall in the Superior Dome together and that makes it special to me because they are there with me, by my side.”

Following her playing career, Ojala returned to the floor in a different capacity and has officiated women’s basketball for 12 years on the high school level and four years on the collegiate level.

“I have been lucky to continue to be involved in the game through officiating,” said Ojala. “It is great to be able to see the players when I officiate the NMU women’s games. The best part of officiating is watching the players develop as the years pass.”

Ojala is a native of Trout Creek and was a graduate of Ewen-Trout Creek High School. Ojala has 13-year-old twin sons, Matthew and Travis, who she describes as the “highlight of her life.”