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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Fourth-quarter fizzle sinks BSU late

Bemidji State sophomore Gabby DuBois (23) pulls up for a shot in the first quarter of Saturday's loss to Minnesota Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
Bemidji State sophomore Taylor Bray (42) gets to the rim in the first quarter of Saturday's loss to Minnesota Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
Bemidji State freshman Shea Oman (13) reads the defense in the first quarter of Saturday's loss to Minnesota Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- For three and a half quarters on Saturday, the Bemidji State women’s basketball team displayed its best showing of the season.

But it was the final five minutes that made the difference at the BSU Gymnasium, as Minnesota Crookston separated with a quick and decisive run to claim a 70-61 win in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener.

“We played our game,” sophomore Gabby DuBois said of the start. “We played as a team like we hadn’t in the past. I think that helped us for three and a half quarters, but we just let up a little bit. That kind of screwed us for that (end).”

The Beavers (2-3, 0-1 NSIC) kept pace for most of the night. They led by six at 25-19 when a Taylor Bray layup capped a 7-0 second-quarter run, but the Golden Eagles (6-1, 1-0 NSIC) mounted a comeback for a 29-27 advantage at the break.

But even in the third quarter, Bemidji State continued to hold its own. Claire Wolhowe sunk a 3-pointer for a 39-39 tie, and DuBois then followed it up with a steal and layup for the two-point edge. Soon after, DuBois hit a reverse layup to end the third quarter and a turnaround to open the fourth, giving the Beavers a 45-43 lead.

“Our focus and trust with the game plan from the coaches to the players worked,” BSU head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “We were locked in, and that showed defensively, how hard we can play. Offensively, same thing. We kind of controlled it a little more. I called more sets, I slowed us down if we didn’t have something.”

But Minnesota Crookston ran away with things soon after. Caitlin Michaelis rattled in a three, Steph McWilliams added another and Isieoma Odor put up a layup plus the foul to spur a decisive 14-2 run.

“Odor kind of took over (in the post), and that’s where some of those threes came,” DeVille said. “We were digging on her. She did a nice job of then making the adjustment and reading. Our kids did what they were supposed to do. We gambled, and they took (advantage) of it.”

The streak had UMC ahead 63-50 with three minutes to play. Brooklyn Bachmann put up five unanswered points to cut back within eight, but it was as close as the Beavers would come in the 70-61 loss.

“We just have to continue to play our game,” DuBois said. “We just need to keep playing more as a team. I think we can get better as a whole. That’s what we get in the gym and do for Northern on Friday.”

DuBois finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds -- her second double-double of the season -- while Bray tallied 11 points to join her in double figures. Odor and Michaelis had 21 and 18 points, respectively, for the Golden Eagle cause.

And while a loss wasn’t the finish she had in mind, DeVille was happy to see an improved level of play that didn’t show at the back end of nonconference play.

“We have a long ways to go,” she said. “It’s one step, and it’s a long climb, but I’m glad to see it going forward as opposed to backwards.”

Bemidji State will resume its NSIC schedule when it hosts Northern State at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the BSU Gymnasium.

Micah Friez

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

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