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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Historic 4th quarter lifts Bemidji State to first NSIC win

Bemidji State' 35 fourth-quarter points are the program’s most points in one quarter since Nov. 14, 2015, when Bemidji State scored 38 in the third against Division III Crown College.

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Bemidji State Beavers

CROOKSTON -- Minnesota Crookston clung on like a pesky little sibling all night long on Tuesday. But, finally, the Bemidji State women’s basketball team broke free in the final minutes, escaping Crookston with an 86-80 win behind a decisive 8-0 run inside the final 2:30.

The game was tied at 74-all until Rachael Heittola made an and-one spin move in the post, sparking BSU’s 8-0 surge that proved to be the difference.

The Beavers trailed by as many as six in the fourth quarter, but the Bemidji State offense poured in 35 points during the frame to put them over the top. As a team, BSU shot 10-for-13 from the field in the fourth, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range and 11-for-15 at the free-throw line.

The Beavers’ fourth-quarter flurry was the program’s most points in one quarter since Nov. 14, 2015, when Bemidji State scored 38 in the third against Division III Crown College. Coincidentally, that was BSU’s first official game after the NCAA switched women’s basketball from two halves to four quarters in 2015-16.

The downtown dominance was in full effect on Tuesday, and no Beaver was better than Maddie Schires. The junior transfer from Youngstown State drained a game-high five 3-pointers, producing 11 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter. As a team, Bemidji State (3-4, 1-2 NSIC) hit a season-best 12 triples.

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The Beavers took the lead at 67-65 on a Trinity Yoder layup with five minutes to go. They kept it for good when Heittola hit her and-one bucket with 2:25 left, which was followed by a Yoder layup and then free throws from Schires and Brooklyn Bachmann.

Bemidji State went 8-for-9 from the charity stripe over the final 2:25 to ice the game away at the line.

Heittola finished with a team-high 22 points, while Yoder nearly had a triple-double with 15 points, six rebounds and 10 assists.

Kylie Post poured in 27 for the Golden Eagles (1-8, 0-3 NSIC).

The Beavers return to the BSU Gymnasium for a 7:30 p.m. game against Minnesota State Moorhead on Friday, Dec. 10.

Bemidji State 86, Minnesota Crookston 80

BSU 19 17 15 35 -- 86

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UMC 19 16 20 25 -- 80

BEMIDJI STATE (3-4, 1-2 NSIC) -- Heittola 22, Schires 17, Yoder 15, Zerr 9, Rezabek 9, Bachmann 6, Vold 4, Swanson 4. Totals: 30-63 FGs, 12-26 3-pt. FGs, 14-21 FTs.

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON (1-8, 0-3 NSIC) -- Post 27, Mertens 13, Burke 9, Fox 8, Carpenter 7, Fraaza 7, Leach 4, Page 3, Praska 2. Totals: 32-66 FGs, 5-18 3-pt. FGs, 11-14 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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