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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Beavers meet their match, bid farewell to seniors in playoff loss

The Beavers met their match in the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals, running into a bulldozing Concordia-St. Paul team that stormed away with an 85-58 win at the Sanford Pentagon. All too soon, BSU’s trailblazing seniors — who turned around the program and ushered in its most successful years since the 1990s — subbed out for the final time.

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The Beavers come together after Trinity Yoder (center) made an and-one layup during the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals against Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It wasn’t supposed to end here, but a bright era of Bemidji State women’s basketball reached its final chapter Sunday night in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Beavers met their match in the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals, running into a bulldozing Concordia-St. Paul team that stormed away with an 85-58 win at the Sanford Pentagon. All too soon, BSU’s trailblazing seniors — who turned around the program and ushered in its most successful years since the 1990s — subbed out for the final time.

"They built it. Not only the foundation, but they built it up, too,” Bemidji State head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “They made it sturdy for us. We’ll make sure we keep on growing it.”

The career-ending loss met teary eyes and bitter heartbreak, but Sunday will age as a small blip on the big picture.

“This is one of my biggest accomplishments,” senior Coley Rezabek said. “I feel so blessed to be a part of this group. I couldn’t imagine myself playing ball anywhere else or with any other girls.”

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Bemidji State head coach Chelsea DeVille looks up at the scoreboard late in the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals against Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

But Sunday was just not the Beavers’ day. The Golden Bears punched BSU in the mouth, jumping ahead 16-0 in the opening four minutes. Even afterward, when Bemidji State started to make a few plays, CSP hogged all the momentum with big shot after big shot.

Trinity Yoder was the one bright spot for the Beavers, netting 16 first-half points during a stretch when BSU desperately needed them.

Even so, Concordia-St. Paul was ahead 24-11 after the first quarter and 49-27 by halftime. It was a bad start that never got better.

“It seemed like Concordia, no matter what they were doing, it was working,” Yoder said. “We started flat-footed. We weren’t really hitting the shots that we normally do, so the things that usually go right for us just weren’t happening.”

There was a glimmer of hope in the third quarter, when Bemidji State opened on an 8-0 run and came back within 49-35. Brooklyn Bachmann sparked it with a layup, Yoder followed with an and-one bucket, and Rezabek drained a transition 3-pointer that gave the fans their biggest shot of energy all night.

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Bemidji State senior Coley Rezabek hits a 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 run during the second half of the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals against Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer
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The BSU bench erupts after Coley Rezabek made a 3-pointer during the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals against Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

But Concordia-St. Paul extinguished the rally in a hurry. The Golden Bears answered with the next 14 points, doubling the lead at 63-35. Much sooner than desired, the writing on the wall started to surface.

“It hit me when DeVille subbed me out, and there were about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter,” Rezabek said. “I tried to keep it together coming out because I knew I’d go back in. But I was sitting on the bench and we were down 25, 30, whatever it was. I was like, ‘Wow, this is it.’”

Yoder finished with 20 points, while Rezabek tallied 13 as the lone Beavers in double figures.

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CSP racked up four double-digit scorers, none more than Meghan DuBois’ 20. Concordia-St. Paul also shot 10-for-16 from 3-point range, which never gave BSU a chance.

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Bemidji State senior Trinity Yoder defends the ball during the NSIC Tournament quarterfinals against Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer

“That’s sports sometimes,” DeVille said. “They just had their best game, and we had one of our worst. It makes it hard when you walk into that locker room, and that’s the way we had to end this year, with some pretty incredible people.”

Bemidji State graduates seven seniors in Taylor Vold, Molly Wenner, Claire Wolhowe, Sydney Zerr, Bachmann, Rezabek and Yoder. They exit as monumental tone-setters in a program that had long grown used to losing.

“It feels really awesome, especially when your coach trusts you so much to come in and do that work,” Yoder said. “It wasn’t easy. It never was. So going from a losing season to winning a majority of our games, with this group of girls, it really meant a lot to me.”

Concordia-St. Paul 85, Bemidji State 58

BSU 11 16 14 17 -- 58

CSP 24 25 22 14 -- 85

BEMIDJI STATE (14-13) -- Yoder 20, Rezabek 13, Bachmann 8, Heittola 7, Wenner 5, Schires 3, Vold 2. Totals: 23-68 FGs, 6-25 3-pt. FGs, 6-10 FTs.

CONCORDIA-ST. PAUL (19-7) -- DuBois 20, Becher 13, Zgutowicz 13, Wheatcraft 10, Hanson 9, Daugherty 8, Schultz 6, Gamble 2, Johnson 2, Kuma 2. Totals: 32-66 FGs, 10-16 3-pt. FGs, 11-12 FTs.

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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