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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Bemidji State’s seed already set, but Beavers are staying motivated

Even though the Bemidji State women’s basketball team has its playoff seed already figured out, the Beavers say they still have plenty to play for.

021222.S.BP.BSUWBB Maddie Schires.jpg
Bemidji State junior Maddie Schires (23) shoots in the first half against Wayne State on Jan. 29, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- Even though the Bemidji State women’s basketball team has its playoff seed already figured out, the Beavers say they still have plenty to play for.

“You don’t want to come off a couple losses going into the playoffs,” junior Maddie Schires said. “There are a couple teams that we’ve still got to play that are fighting for their spots. Each game is going to be difficult, which is going to be good for us going into playoffs.”

BSU locked in its placement as the No. 3 seed with Saturday’s win against U-Mary. With it comes a first-round playoff game at home, but Bemidji State is still expecting to meet a quality team trying to play spoiler.

“We need momentum going into conference play,” head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “We’ll have that home (game), that advantage is there, but we’re going to have someone very difficult coming up here.”

First, though, the Beavers will face Northern State and Minnesota State Moorhead this weekend -- two teams jockeying for playoff positioning in the middle of a packed race below BSU.

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“The nice part is that we don’t have to scoreboard watch,” DeVille said. “Other teams are looking at, ‘OK, we have to win these two to secure a playoff spot or a home spot.’ We know our fate, so let’s just get better.”

020922.S.BP.BSUWBB Bench.jpg
The Bemidji State bench cheers after a 3-pointer from senior Sydney Zerr in the second half against U-Mary on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Despite the seeding certainty, however, there’s still some history up for grabs . Bemidji State (13-8, 11-6 NSIC) can surpass the program’s single-season record of 12 conference wins with a sweep this weekend.

“It’s huge. It kind of shows where the program is going,” Schires said. “To be a part of that is pretty special.”

“Our women appreciate anytime we see something we’ve done that hasn’t been done here in years or decades,” DeVille added. “We never talk about that stuff until the press or our sports (department) markets it for us. It’s kind of fun. It’s always a surprise on what we’re doing, and it’s something we can celebrate.”

With four games left in the regular season, the Beavers’ next three are away from home. This weekend’s road trip features a 5:30 p.m. tipoff against NSU on Friday, Feb. 11, and a 3:30 p.m. tipoff against MSUM on Saturday, Feb. 12.

And while it may be easy to peek ahead at the playoffs, Schires said staying in the moment isn’t difficult when prioritizing the task at hand.

“We get a scout every week of the team that we’re playing,” Schires said. “When we get that sheet, that’s who we’re focusing on. We’re not worrying about next week, or the week after that, or where we’re going to go in the playoffs.

“For me, when we get that sheet, it’s like, ‘All right, I’m locked in on this team, and this is what we’ve got to do.’”

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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