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Women's basketball: Beavers defeat Moorhead

BEMIDJI — After allowing an average of 93 points last weekend, BSU entered this week with a focus on its defense and that emphasis paid dividends as the Beavers defeated MSU Moorhead 64-53 Friday at the BSU gym.

The Beavers held the Dragons to just 26.7 percent shooting and held them without a field goal for a span of over nine minutes in each half.

“I thought the defensive effort was the key,” BSU head coach Mike Curfman said. “We have not shot the ball very consistently lately, but the defensive effort is something you can always bring. It is something we really focused on this week.”

“The defense is something we focused on a lot this week and it really stepped up,” senior Morgan Lee said. “The coaches pounded in our heads that if we wanted to get the win, we would have to tighten things up on defense and that is exactly what we did.”

The Dragons used a 9-0 run over a three-minute span to help build an early 16-8 lead and a three-pointer from Morgan Zabel gave Moorhead a 19-12 advantage midway through the half.

The remainder of the period was dominated by BSU, however.

“We sat on 19 for a long time,” Moorhead head coach Karla Nelson said. “They did a nice job during that span of not really giving us anything.”

Following a three-pointer by Zabel, the Dragons went more than nine minutes without a field goal.

Baskets from Kate Warmack, Jessie Althoff and Lee helped fuel a 16-2 BSU run that resulted in a 28-21 lead late in the first half.

Haley Thomforde ended the drought with a three-pointer and cut the deficit to four points at 28-24 at the break.

Moorhead was haunted by its 12 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

“That is way too many,” Nelson said of the first-half miscues. “We are struggling as a basketball team, you tend to force things and that is what we did tonight.”

Lee connected on a three-pointer to push the BSU lead back to seven points at 38-31 with 15:30 left in the game.

The Dragons cut their deficit to a single point several times but were unable to regain the lead.

Lee dialed up a second three-pointer to give BSU its largest cushion up to that point, 54-45, with 3:30 remaining.

“It was huge to not let them get back in front,” Lee said. “If you let them go on a run, they are going to take off with it.”

Lee scored 19 of her game-high 25 points in the second half.

“We knew that we would have to be the aggressor, so that is what we did,” Lee said. “We knew that we had to take care of the ball as well and we did a good job of it.”

Moorhead got within five points in the final minute but was doomed by not making a field goal in the final 9:50.

Warmack added a double-double for the Beavers with 12 points and 13 rebounds and Zabel led the Dragons offense with 15 points.

The win for the Beavers avenged a 25-point loss in Moorhead last month.

“In this league, you have to have a short-term memory,” Curfman said. “One game to the next can be so different. It was great to see us better this time around, especially on the defensive end.”

“Bemidji played like they wanted to win the game and I do not think we really did,” Nelson said.

BSU (8-7, 4-7 NSIC) looks to complete the weekend sweep as it hosts Northern State at 4 p.m. today.

Moorhead (9-6, 5-6 NSIC) will play in Crookston at 4 p.m.

BSU 64, MSU Moorhead 53

MSU Moorhead (53): Zabel 4-16 5-6 15; Strese 3-14 6-7 11; Thomforde 4-10 0-2 10; Banasik 2-5 0-0 5; Roehrich 2-6 1-1 5; Handevit 1-2 2-4 4; Van Wyhe 0-5 2-2 2. Totals 16-60 16-22 53.

BSU (64): Lee 7-16 9-10 25; Warmack 4-13 4-6 12; Althoff 5-10 0-0 11; Zerr 2-9 3-4 7; Cordes 1-3 3-4 5; Sheley 0-2 2-2 2; Youngblut 0-5 1-2 1; Miller 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 19-60 23-30 64.

Halftime score: BSU 28, MSU Moorhead 24