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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Bemidji State looks to break out of shooting funk

BEMIDJI – If anything has hurt the Bemidji State women’s team this season, it’s been the 3-pointer.

The Beavers, who take on Minnesota State-Moorhead tonight and Northern State Saturday afternoon, aren’t shooting well from downtown and aren’t playing well against teams who do this season, and that’s been a concern for head coach Mike Curfman.

“If you look at our numbers last year, our 3-point percentage was pretty good, one of the best in the league,” Curfman said, referencing BSU’s third-best 35 percent last season. “This year we’re one of the worst ones in the league,” he said. “And it’s a lot of people taking the same shots.”

The Beavers are ranked dead last in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 3-point percentage at 27.1 percent. The Beavers (7-9, 3-9 NSIC) are also near the bottom in 3-point percentage allowed. Opponents are shooting 34.8 percent against BSU.

However you slice it, the three has been a thorn in BSU’s side.

Curfman doesn’t have a diagnosis for BSU’s shooting woes. But it’s clear that losing Samantha Baldwin – a 40 percent shooter from the field and from downtown – has hurt.

Junior guard Morgan Lee has shot at about the same clip this season (35.7 percent) as she did last year (39 percent). But a few of the other players who shot at a high percentage last season, like Ellie Wessling and Shannon Thompson, haven’t made or taken as many 3s this year.

“That’s just one of those things of athletics that you can’t predict,” Curfman said.

“If we could put our finger on it, do this particular drill or this particular thing, it would help. But we have over a month thing to still figure a few things out and sort of get out of our offensive woes, because it’s been a struggle offensively for us and that’s not something that’s been the case really in the past.”

The Beavers started the season 5-0 but have lost nine of their last 11 and are averaging just 63 points per game. And lately, it’s been a struggle just to stay in games.

After a nailbiting 53-50 loss to Northern State Jan. 4, the Beavers lost each of their next three games by 20 points. They managed to beat Minnesota Crookston 58-48 Jan. 15 but lost to Winona State 78-41 points Jan. 18.

This weekend Curfman hopes the Beavers can break out of their funk and score some points against a pair of teams they played at the beginning of January.

“We saw them in early January, so the players and their styles are pretty fresh and familiar to the team,” Curfman said. “We have tape of things we did well and things that worked against them.”

The Beavers have the ability to beat both teams.

Although MSU-Moorhead beat the BSU 75-55, the Dragons only pulled away in the second half with Lee on the bench due to foul trouble. BSU trailed just 37-33 at one point but without Lee the Dragons pulled away.

Northern State was also close – the lead changed 10 times before the Wolves went ahead late. The Beavers had a chance to win the game down one point with 20 seconds left but couldn’t get the shot to fall.

Curfman hopes the Beavers can get something going with just 10 games left to play in the regular season. If not, it may be tough sailing in the first round of the conference tournament.

“We’re a little over a month away from conference tournament,” he said. “We’d really like to build some momentum going in.”

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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