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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Bemidji State rallies from 23-point deficit but falls short against Minnesta-Duluth

Bemidji State’s Jessie Althoff (54) scored on this jumper during Saturday’s game against Minnesota-Duluth. Althoff scored 13 points but BSU lost 70-63. Pat Miller | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Bemidji State nearly completed an improbable comeback but fell short in a 70-63 loss to Minnesota Duluth Saturday at the BSU Gym.

In a 13-minute span in the second half, the Beavers used increased ball pressure and went on a 31-13 run to cut a 23-point deficit down to as little as five points.

“We just cannot get down as much as we did,” Kate Warmack said. “When you get down as much as we did, it is really easy to hang your head, but I was really proud of how tough we played to the end.”

“It was encouraging to see the girls keep fighting,” Bemidji State head coach Mike Curfman added. “It was bittersweet. The fact that we got down 23 was discouraging, but the fact that we fought back and scored as fast as we did will only make us better.”

Megan Lueck and Tatum Sheley traded early three-pointers and after the first five minutes of play, the score was tied at eight.

The play remained even for the next seven minutes as a layup from Warmack cut a four-point deficit in half and made the score 24-22 with 7:42 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to eight points by scoring the next six points.

BSU got with four, but UMD used an 8-1 run to end the half and take a double-digit lead at 40-29 lead to the locker room.

Hannah Rutten posted a double-double in the first half, as she scored 17 points and tallied 11 rebounds. She finished with a game-high 22 points and 16 rebounds.

Minnesota Duluth started the second half just where it left off in the first half. A 15-3 run in the first six minutes of the second half increased the lead to 55-32.

Sparked by a 14-3 run, the Beavers cut the deficit to 13 points at 59-46 with just under ten minutes left in the game.

BSU cut the deficit to as little as five points at 68-63, but was unable to complete the comeback.

Warmack led the offensive attack for the Beavers as she posted her sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Morgan Lee, BSU’s leading scorer on the season, was held in check by UMD, but still scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

“Morgan is going to draw a lot of attention,” Curfman said. “Teams know that she is a great shooter. The better people around her shoot, the more open she is going to be, and last night we shot better as a team than we did tonight. Give Duluth credit for that, they were really aggressive on defense.”

The Bulldogs biggest advantage came on the glass, as they pulled down 52 rebounds, to the Beavers 36.

“Duluth is traditionally good in the post and a tough rebounding team,” Curfman said. “We knew it was going to be their strength and we could have done a better job. We did a better job later in the game, but they set the tone early on by crashing the boards.”

Bemidji State (5-2 1-2 NSIC) returns to action next weekend as it will take on MSU Moorhead and Northern State on the road.

Minnesota Duluth 70, Bemidji State 63

Minnesota Duluth

Ruter 8-21 6-7 22, Meyer 9-16 3-4 22, Kerkhoff 4-6 2-2 11, Flood 1-9 2-2 4, Lueck 1-1 0-0 3, Kane 0-1 2-2 2, Harris 1-1 0-0 2, K. Newman 1-5 0-0 2, J. Newman 1-7 0-1 2. Totals 26-67 15-18 70.

Bemidji State

Warmack 10-19 0-0 20, Althoff 5-12 2-4 13, Lee 5-7 1-2 12, Sheley 3-13 2-2 9, Zerr 2-15 1-2 5, Cordes 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 27-73 6-10 63.

Halftime: Minnesota Duluth 40, Bemidji State 29