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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers’ 19-point rally ends prematurely in tight loss

Minnesota State’s giant second-half lead was down to four in Friday’s fourth quarter, and the tides were turning in what had been a dominant Mavericks performance in Mankato.

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Bemidji State Beavers

MANKATO -- Even if for just a moment, it looked like the Bemidji State women’s basketball team was about to overcome a 19-point deficit against the top team in the NSIC South Division.

Minnesota State’s giant second-half lead was down to four in Friday’s fourth quarter, and the tides were turning in what had been a dominant Mavericks performance in Mankato.

But the BSU comeback ran out of firepower, and MSU ultimately outlasted the Beavers 72-68.

Coley Rezabek drained a 3-pointer with 3:47 left on the night, bringing Bemidji State within 68-64. The four-point difference was as close as it had been since the opening minutes of the game.

But three missed 3-pointers and a turnover ended BSU’s next four possessions. The small drought was just big enough for the Mavericks to sneak away unscathed.

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It was a mighty rocky start for the Beavers (8-6, 6-4 NSIC), who trailed 15-2 out of the gates. Bemidji State had eight turnovers and just three field goal attempts by that point, and MSU’s aggressive defense led to a 25-10 game after a quarter.

Minnesota State (12-3, 8-3 NSIC) carried that intensity into the second frame, building a game-high lead at 43-24 into the locker rooms.

BSU started to chip away in the third quarter, and then it came all at once. A Sydney Zerr three capped a quick 9-0 run, which tightened things up at 50-43 and finally made the game competitive again.

The score stood at 58-50 MSU after three, but Bemidji State made a final push down the final stretch. Rezabek’s 3-pointer was the exclamation point of a 9-2 burst, and with 3:47 still to play, the Beavers were sitting with a legitimate shot at the comeback bid. But the triple turned out to be BSU’s last make from the field until a harmless layup at the buzzer.

Brooklyn Bachmann ended the game with a team-high 13 points for BSU, while Trinity Yoder tallied 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Taylor Vold and Rezabek also hit double-digits with 11 points apiece.

Bemidji State lived and died by the three -- going 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the third quarter but just 4-for-24 in all other frames.

Joey Batt led all scorers, going for 22 to back the Minnesota State cause.

BSU will try to salvage a weekend split when it faces Concordia-St. Paul at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, in St. Paul.

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Minnesota State 72, Bemidji State 68

BSU 10 14 26 18 -- 68

MSU 25 18 15 14 -- 72

BEMIDJI STATE (8-6, 6-4 NSIC) -- Bachmann 13, Yoder 12, Rezabek 11, Vold 11, Heittola 7, Wolhowe 6, Schires 5, Zerr 3. Totals: 25-60 FGs, 8-31 3-pt. FGs, 10-15 FTs.

MINNESOTA STATE (12-3, 8-3 NSIC) -- Batt 22, Bursch 13, Olson 13, Nachazel 6, Russo 6, Theusch 4, Herzberg 3, Ihle 3, Stuttley 2. Totals: 25-65 FGs, 8-21 3-pt. FGs, 14-20 FTs.

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