BEMIDJI – Both the Bemidji State men’s and women’s basketball teams will wrap up 2012 this weekend, and both will be eager to finish the year on a winning note.
The BSU men are eager to keep their momentum going after they went to Duluth last Saturday and defeated Minnesota-Duluth – and former head coach Matt Bowen – 66-55.
The women, on the other hand, are looking to bounce back after dropping two games in a row against St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth.
The teams meet a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foes in University of Mary on Friday, with the women tipping off at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, Minot State will take on the BSU women’s team at 4 p.m., while the men’s teams will play at 6 p.m.
Men look to keep going
The Beavers (4-3, 2-1 NSIC) were six minutes away from upsetting nationally-ranked St. Cloud State last Friday, but the Huskies came back with a vengeance to show why they were ranked.
BSU, however, rallied back on Saturday to defeat Minnesota-Duluth and get back on track.
This weekend, BSU head coach Mike Boschee said he’d like to see his team playing well going into the holiday break. Some wins against Mary and Minot wouldn’t hurt.
“It will be nice if we’re playing well heading into the holiday season so that our guys are in a good frame of mind,” he said. “I think the NSIC is a very challenging conference. Every team we play has capable players that can get things going, get on fire and get really good. We just have to play tough, hard-nosed defense and be disciplined every time out, that’s what we’re finding.”
Mary is coming off a pair of losses at Northern State and MSU Moorhead. The Marauders (2-5, 1-2 NSIC) fell to Northern 81-71 and to Moorhead 82-70.
Alex Dorr leads the Marauders in both points (15.1) and rebounds (10.3) per game.
Mary has shot fairly well this season – 46 percent, including 35.5 from 3-point range – but have had some issues defending. They’re among the worst in the conference defending against the 3, and are the worst in the conference in points allowed (73.4 ppg).
All of that could play very well into BSU’s hands, as the Beavers have shot 43.6 percent from beyond the arc, good enough for No. 10 in the nation.
Junior Jack Schalow leads the league in 3-point percentage (66.7) while junior Zach Noreen is close behind (55.6). Three Beavers – Noreen, Dermaine Crockrell and Mason Walters – are averaging double figure points.
Mary’s lone win is against Minot State, who visits BSU Saturday. The North Dakota Beavers are having a rough time in their first year in the league; they’re currently 1-6 and 0-3 in conference play. They defeated Northland College, but have been blown out by an average of 20 ppg in conference play.
Minot doesn’t have any player averaging double figures this season, but leading the charge is Anthony Enriquez, who has scored 9.6 ppg.
Women want to get back on track
After starting out the season 5-0, the Beavers have dropped two straight conference games and would like to use this weekend to get back into a groove headed into break.
“It’s nice to be at home, but we didn’t play very well last weekend, and it didn’t matter that we were on the road,” BSU head coach Mike Curfman said. “We just didn’t play good basketball. But it’s nice to be at home. We’re looking for a bounceback performance.”
The Beavers (5-2, 1-2 NSIC) lost to St. Cloud State 81-53 before falling to UMD 65-50.
Mary (5-3, 1-2) and Minot (4-1, 2-1) present different challenges.
Bemidji State will have its work cut out for it on both days, but the Beavers had been playing well before last weekend, getting contributions from different players each night.
Currently transfer LaNae Rash leads the team with 14.3 ppg while Morgan Lee is also in double figures with 13.9 ppg. Katie Warmack has 9.9 ppg and is also the team’s leading rebounder with 6.9 ppg.
Against Mary, BSU will have to defend against the 3.
The Marauders have taken nearly 200 3-pointers and shoot it well (33.2 percent). Leading the way in that category is Kelsey Peltier, who shoots 47.1 percent from downtown. Shaunna Knife and Lindsey Sand also shoot above 38 percent.
Ali Collins leads Mary in points per game (13.9), assists per game (5.1) and steals per game (2.0).
Minot, on the other hand, likes to work it inside to their big 6-foot, 3-inch center Carly Boag. Boag is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, and also leads the Beavers in blocks and steals. Saccara Molina is also scoring for Minot, with 17.0 ppg.
After dropping the first two games of their season to Division I Montana State and Montana, the Beavers reeled off four straight wins before getting blown out by Northern State. Minot will visit Minnesota Crookston today before playing BSU.