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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers fighting through losing streak

BEMIDJI -- Even in the midst of a 10-game slump, the Bemidji State women’s basketball team won’t be feeling sorry for themselves anytime soon.

“It is very hard to keep your head above water, but I just tell my staff that we just need to suck it up. We need to be the leaders we need to be for our team,” BSU head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “We have really good people surrounding us, whether it’s players sending texts or parents sending emails encouraging us to keep the faith. It’s awesome. That keeps you going, knowing you have the right people within your system, and they have the right parents that are supporting them and us as a staff.”

The Beavers (4-16, 3-13 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) haven’t won since Dec. 30, which was 11 games ago. And with a challenging weekend ahead against Wayne State and No. 7 Augustana, things don’t get any easier. But they’re still pressing to find the win column.

“We trust our coaching staff, and we trust each other,” senior guard Mikayla Larson said. “Every good team has had their slumps. Every good team has had their iffy games. There are a couple that we should’ve put away that we didn’t. It’s good experience for the freshmen, and it’s even better for us seniors, to learn how to fight toward the end and figure out how to get wins.”

The Wildcats (18-6, 12-4 NSIC) and the Vikings (19-1, 15-1) have made a home atop the NSIC South Division standings, but they’ll invade Bemidji this weekend for matchups with BSU.

“They’re the top two teams in the South. They’re both very skilled teams,” Larson said. “They are tough teams, where Wayne is bigger and stronger, and then there’s Augie, who’s longer and quicker. We just have to come out and fight. For both of them, we’ve just got to learn how to fight with each other and take home wins.”

Bemidji State is also preparing to play without Brooklyn Bachmann. The freshman guard is doubtful for this weekend after straining the peroneus muscles on the outside of her leg and suffering a high ankle sprain against Minnesota State Mankato on Jan. 27.

“We are day to day with her,” DeVille said. “We thought it was potentially season ending, but right now we’re hopeful that it’s week to week, day by day.”

Bachmann leads the team in points (13.3 per game), rebounds (4.9), assists (2.1), steals (1.2) and minutes (30.5). In her expected absence, though, DeVille is looking for the rest of her team to step up.

“I think, as a whole, we all (need to),” she said. “An absence of (Bachmann) will give opportunities for the other wings to see more minutes and see a longer stint at times when they get in.”

The weekend will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, against WSC, followed by Saturday’s 8 p.m. tip with Augie, both at the BSU Gymnasium.

“It’s going to be tough,” Larson said. “They’re not going to be easy games -- they’re not even going to be close to easy. But it’s two games in our schedule that we’re going to have to keep working (through).”

And despite Bemidji State’s nagging losing streak, they won’t be focused on it this weekend.

“As an athlete and being part of the team for four years, thinking of the losing streak isn’t what prepares us for the games. It’s not what helps us,” Larson said. “I think we try to put it behind us. We lost a couple games, but it doesn’t determine our future. It depends on which team shows up each night.”

Micah Friez

Micah Friez is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Lumberjack and Beaver updates.

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