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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Turnovers to be key for Bemidji State

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State women’s basketball team is determined to take care of the basketball this weekend.

“I think, personally, turnovers made us lose the games last weekend. They determine a lot in the game,” freshman point guard Sydney Zerr said. “This week, we’re just focusing more on ourselves. (On Tuesday) we worked a lot on ball handling as guards and slowing down, making a smart pass rather than trying to force something. It’ll help a lot.”

The Beavers (4-18, 3-15 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) turned the ball over 49 times last weekend, resulting in 63 points off turnovers in losses to Wayne State and Augustana.

“I think you see it just as easy as the boxscore. It wasn’t just our turnovers and sloppiness, but on the other end they’re capitalizing off of it,” BSU assistant coach Jamie Schultz said. “Just showing those stats to our team, we’re really emphasizing the importance of not turning the ball over. It’s not just limiting our possessions, but then they’re scoring off of it, as well. It’s a huge difference in the game.”

And this weekend will be just as big of a test for Bemidji State. After playing the Vikings and the Wildcats -- the top two teams in the NSIC South Division -- the Beavers have Minnesota State Moorhead and Northern State up next -- the top two teams in the NSIC North.

“Our schedule doesn’t get any easier, which is why we just have to keep trying to better ourselves and up our level of play,” Schultz said. “We just have to be sharper. It does take a lot of fight, it does take a lot of heart. Those are intangible things that we need to have a little more of. Once there’s not just turnover after turnover -- the snowball effect of things -- it kind of helps with confidence.”

“I just need to slow down and have a good court vision to be able to see and read everything,” Zerr added. “Turnovers, if one person has one, it can kind of carry over… I think we need to pick it up and not let things carry over.”

BSU’s final home series of the season will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, when the Beavers take on the Dragons (19-3, 16-2 NSIC). Bemidji State will then return to the BSU Gymnasium for a 4 p.m. meeting with the Wolves (20-4, 15-3 NSIC) on Saturday, Feb. 10, for its home finale.

And while they’ll be underdogs, the Beavers are still looking for a strong finish on their home hardwood.

“We just have to get better. Better at what we’ve been doing, what we’ve been preaching all season, just to give ourselves a chance,” Schultz said. “I think the biggest thing is, if we clean things up, take care of the ball better and all-around execute better offensively… we could put ourselves in a position where it’s close. And you give yourself a chance to win when it’s close.”

And if it is close, Bemidji State has an opportunity to finally break out of its current 12-game losing streak.

“I think we have an opportunity to do something big and quit the losing streak,” Zerr said. “We just need to pick up on turnovers and work together.”

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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