BEMIDJI - Both Bemidji State basketball teams have something to prove coming into this afternoon’s games against Minnesota Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium.
The Beaver women take on the Golden Eagles at 2 p.m. and the men play at 4 p.m. in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener for both team.
For Mike Curfman’s women’s squad, it’s about proving that their 4-0 start was no fluke.
The Beavers are undefeated four games in, but two games were against Lakehead University of Ontario and two more against NAIA competition in Mayville State and Mount Mercy University.
Still, the Beavers have played well in their four games.
Junior Morgan Lee leads the team, averaging 20 points and 4 rebounds per game; while transfer Lanae Rash has gone for 16 ppg and leads the team with 7.3 rpg. Jessie Althoff is the third Beavers in double figures with 11.5 ppg.
A win against Crookston (3-1) will be huge as the Beavers begin their grind through the NSIC. BSU travels to St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth next weekend.
Crookston lost its season opener to Valley City State before reeling off three wins against Mayville State, Fort Lewis and Western New Mexico. The Eagles are led by senior guard Brittani Wiese, who is averaging 16.8 ppg, and Ashley Martell, who has gone for 12.5 ppg.
Men looking to repeat
The BSU men’s team has different goals this season. They’re looking to prove they can still compete this season after losing many pieces from last year’s conference championship team. They hope to use today’s home opener as the first statement game.
The Beavers lost National Player of the Year James Ellisor, top point guard Bryce Tesdahl and head coach Matt Bowen.
This season, NSIC coaches picked the Beavers to finish 12th out of 16 teams.
New head coach Mike Boschee has the team at 2-2 after splitting a pair of road trips. The Beavers defeated Colorado-Colorado Springs in the NSIC/RMAC challenge two weekends ago at Winona State before losing to nationally-ranked Metro State the next day.
A few days later, BSU made a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where they lost to Michigan Tech before rebounding for a big win over Division-III Finlandia.
After four games BSU is led in scoring by Zach Noreen (12.3 ppg) and Dremaine Crockrell (11.8). Mason Walters has also been solid on the inside, going for 9.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg.
BSU has averaged 74.5 ppg through its first four games, while Minnesota-Crookston is averaging 67.8 ppg.
The Golden Eagles are 3-1, with wins over Presentation College, Finlandia and Mayville State. Their lone loss was a 56-55 nailbiter against Crown College. Brandon Burns, a junior forward, leads UMC with 17.8 ppg.