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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Taryn Frazer takes down Bemidji State in raucous homecoming

Taryn Frazer led the Golden Eagles to a 69-64 comeback win over the Bemidji State women’s basketball team in a game played at the BSU Gymnasium, but one that almost felt like a CLB home game with how many followers Frazer drew.

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Minnesota Crookston freshman Taryn Frazer, center, encourages the Golden Eagles from the bench during the second half against Bemidji State on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- Taryn Frazer departed Cass Lake-Bena as perhaps the greatest girls basketball player in school history. And on Tuesday, she returned to her hometown fans for the first time since.

“I love the support from my people,” said Frazer, now a freshman at Minnesota Crookston. “They always know how to come out and show out.”

Frazer led the Golden Eagles to a 69-64 comeback win over the Bemidji State women’s basketball team in a game played at the BSU Gymnasium, but one that almost felt like a CLB home game with how many followers Frazer drew.

“We were expecting that,” Bemidji State head coach Chelsea Stoltenberg said. “We recruited (Frazer) and watched her all throughout high school. She’s a talented kid with a lot of fans, absolutely.”

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Bemidji State sophomore Jana Swanson, right, tries to pass the ball from the floor during the second half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Frazer started for Minnesota Crookston (1-4, 1-0 NSIC), her third straight game in the starting lineup, and finished with nine points and five rebounds. She also sparked the Golden Eagles’ second-half surge with a few momentum plays that brought her pseudo home crowd to life.

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The Beavers (2-1, 0-1 NSIC) scored the first 11 points of the game, and UMC was struggling to remain competitive. But Minnesota Crookston outscored BSU 41-27 in the second half and even ended the game on a 6-0 run after Bemidji State took a 64-63 lead in the final two minutes.

“Credit to Crookston for how they guarded us,” Stoltenberg said. “We got some stops, but what was working in the first three and a half quarters, we really let go of emotionally. We had some mental fatigue, got a little soft and didn’t finish plays.”

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Bemidji State senior Maddie Schires (10) looks to pass the ball during the first half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The Beavers led 28-13 when Maddie Schires drilled back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter, and all was well in the world for BSU. But the Golden Eagles never allowed for the knockout blow, and they instead chipped away in a slow-and-steady kind of way.

Bemidji State still led 37-28 by halftime, and even 44-30 early in the third quarter. But momentum changed hands with Frazer’s fingerprints all over a 16-3 UMC run into the fourth quarter, which gave Minnesota Crookston a 55-53 edge.

“All the support we get leads into us playing better. We feed off the energy from the crowd,” said Frazer, who exited as the Panthers' all-time leading female scorer. “We came out pretty slow, so we just had to get it together in the locker room and huddles. … It’s a battle out here, and we love it. This is why we play.”

Both sides wrestled the lead away from each other down the stretch, but Trinity Yoder hit Sam Pogachnik on a backdoor feed before backing down her defender in the post for a bucket on the next play. The quick 4-0 burst gave BSU a 64-63 advantage with 2:21 to play, but the Golden Eagles owned the rest of the night.

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Bemidji State fifth-year Trinity Yoder (14) goes to the net during the first half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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The Beavers encourage each other during a timeout late in the second half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“What’s hard is when you miss really good shots,” Stoltenberg said. “You feel a little helpless because they did everything right offensively, they just didn’t drop. Then you go on the other end and they score or (get) to the foul line. That’s hard.”

Yoder finished with 20 points to pace BSU, while Schires added 15. Pogatchnik followed suit with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double.

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Bren Fox tallied a team-high 16 points for Minnesota Crookston, including the game-winning basket in the post with 1:36 to go.

The Beavers will conclude their nonconference schedule with a trip to the Pacific Northwest. BSU will face St. Martin’s at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, and Western Washington at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, in the Lynda Goodrich Classic in Bellingham, Wash.

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Bemidji State sophomore Erin Barrette (0) defends the ball during the first half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Frazer and the Golden Eagles, meanwhile, are off to Florida to face Nova Southeastern and Palm Beach Atlantic over the holiday weekend.

“(Frazer) played really well tonight,” Stoltenberg said. “We’ll be rooting for her except for the next time we see Crookston.”

Minnesota Crookston 69, Bemidji State 64

UMC 10 18 21 20 -- 69

BSU 20 17 14 13 -- 64

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON -- Fox 16, Lane 11, Tormanen 11, Frazer 9, Page 8, Hernandez 6, Mikrot 4, Miller 4. Totals: 24-63 FGs, 2-10 3-pt. FGs, 19-25 FTs.

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BEMIDJI STATE -- Yoder 20, Schires 15, Pogatchnik 12, Hill 9, Koenig 4, Majewski 3, Swanson 1. Totals: 19-63 FGs, 5-22 3-pt. FGs, 21-27 FTs.

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Bemidji State sophomore Sam Pogatchnik (22) looks to shoot the ball during the first half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji State freshman Brooke Theis (33) makes a post move during the first half against Minnesota Crookston on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Micah Friez is the sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he joined the Pioneer in 2015 and 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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