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Beavers host defending nat'l champion Mavs

The Bemidji State women's basketball team will wrap up the first half of the season Saturday afternoon at BSU Gymnasium.

The Beavers will take on defending national champion Minnesota State University, Mankato at 3 p.m. in a non-conference game that will count toward overall records but not toward NSIC records.

It is clear through the first half of the season that the Beavers have rebounded from last year's tough season that saw only three wins.

The Beavers are off to a 7-3 start and are 2-2 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.

Bemidji State is also a spotless 4-0 on the road, which included Thursday night's 71-66 win over Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis.

It marked BSU's third straight victory.

The Beavers are winning thanks to the contributions of newcomers.

Katie Pettit is coming off a weekend in which she was named the Northern Sun Player of the Week. The freshman who has started in each game this season leads the team in scoring with an average of 13 points per game.

Junior transfer Anna Hebrink has stepped in seamlessly and has provided a sound all-around game. She's averaging just over seven points per game.

Freshman Jessie Althoff is averaging almost 10 points per game.

Freshman Emily Kaus is enjoying a strong start as well and is the best rebounder on the team. She averages a team-high seven rebounds per game and has a team-high 25 blocks this season.

Sydney Epema is following up her superb freshman season with a strong start to her sophomore season. She averages 11 points per game and is the Beavers top 3-point threat. She's shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc.

The Beavers will have their hands full with the Mavericks, who are the No. 11 ranked team in the country.

Even with losing three starters from last year's national championship squad, Mankato is 8-1 overall and 3-0 in NSIC play.

MSU ranks second in NSIC scoring defense, holding opponents to 60 points per game.

Bemidji State ranks third in the league in scoring offense (77.9 points per game), so Saturday's matchup should be an interesting contrast in styles.

After Saturday's game, the Beavers are off until a home Jan. 2-3 NSIC series against Augustana and Wayne State.