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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Last-second miss, first-half hole sink Beavers against UMD

“We beat ourselves early in that first half,” BSU head coach Chelsea DeVille said. “We have to control that so we’re not looking at the last-second shot that didn’t go in. We’re looking at (the fact) that it could have been a much different game if we take care of the ball.”

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Bemidji State senior Trinity Yoder reacts after the final buzzer of a game against Minnesota Duluth on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI -- As Trinity Yoder’s last-second shot floated up toward the rim, hopeful to force overtime against Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State women’s basketball head coach Chelsea DeVille knew that it wasn’t the deciding moment inside the BSU Gymnasium.

“We beat ourselves early in that first half,” DeVille said. “We have to control that so we’re not looking at the last-second shot that didn’t go in. We’re looking at (the fact) that it could have been a much different game if we take care of the ball.”

Yoder’s shot met an unfriendly rim, allowing UMD to escape with a 61-59 win on Thursday despite losing all of its 13-point lead just minutes prior.

“We’re a great team, but we beat ourselves when we dig ourselves a hole,” Yoder said. “We fought and didn’t give up on each other. There were a few shots that didn’t land for us or a few calls that didn’t go our way, but we fought for it.”

Rachael Heittola took over early in the fourth quarter, carrying the Beavers (2-3, 0-1 NSIC) to a 9-1 run on an inside score that made it 52-47.

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Bemidji State junior Rachael Heittola (32) scores against Minnesota Duluth's Brooke Olson during the first half against UMD on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

Taylor Vold and Brooklyn Bachmann soon followed with back-to-back backdoor layups -- off feeds from Heittola and Yoder -- and Bachmann’s bunny tied things up at 54-all with 2:51 to play.

The stands erupted when Sydney Zerr drained a deep 3-pointer for a 57-56 lead the next time down, and Bachmann brought on a 59-59 tie with two free throws after Minnesota Duluth sank a three of its own.

“DeVille trusts a lot of us out there,” Yoder said. “We play well with each other. We’ve played with each other for four years now. (It’s about) trusting each other.”

A Yoder steal gave Bemidji State the ball back with 38 seconds to go, but Bachmann missed a tough layup in the final 20 seconds and opened the door for the Bulldogs to steal the game back.

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Bemidji State senior Sydney Zerr (20) runs a play late in the second half against Minnesota Duluth on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

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Payton Kahl did just that, making a layup with 2.1 on the clock, which was decisive once Yoder’s ensuing layup fell short.

“We dig ourselves into a hole with getting those deficits,” DeVille said, bringing it back to the first half. “If we can just control ourselves a little better, you see that we can compete. We need to make sure we’re not allowing those deficits to happen.”

BSU allowed the Bulldogs to establish the status quo in the first half, as the score ran to 22-15 after a quarter and by as wide of a margin as 31-21 in the second frame.

Maddie Schires soon got the deficit within five when she drained a 3-pointer minutes later, but Minnesota Duluth answered through Maesyn Thiesen’s triple and carried a 36-29 advantage into the break.

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Bemidji State senior Brooklyn Bachmann (12) attempts a shot during the first half against Minnesota Duluth on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

The Beavers chipped away and got within 40-38 on a Heittola three in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs rallied for an 11-0 run that pushed the game to 51-38. Bemidji State outscored UMD 21-10 over those final 12 minutes, but it was just short of what BSU needed to avoid the two-point loss.

“We fought until the end,” Yoder said. “I know we dug ourselves a hole there, but I think we started to dig our way out of it. … We just beat ourselves. They’re a really good team.”

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Heittola finished the night with 20 points for the Beavers, while Bachmann reached 13 and Yoder 11.

Brooke Olson had 19 for Minnesota Duluth but was largely held in check considering her status as two-time NSIC North Player of the Year.

Bemidji State will try to snap a three-game losing skid when it travels to St. Cloud State for a 4 p.m. matchup on Saturday, Dec. 4.

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Bemidji State freshman Sam Pogatchnik (22) looks to make a pass during the first half against Minnesota Duluth on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

Minnesota Duluth 61, Bemidji State 59

UMD 22 14 15 10 -- 61

BSU 15 14 13 17 -- 59

MINNESOTA DULUTH (3-3, 1-1 NSIC) -- Olson 19, Thiesen 12, Kahl 9, Granica 5, Rhoades 5, Simonet 5, Nelson 4, Grow 2. Totals: 23-53 FGs, 5-15 3-pt. FGs, 10-12 FTs.

BEMIDJI STATE (2-3, 0-1 NSIC) -- Heittola 20, Bachmann 13, Yoder 11, Zerr 6, Vold 4, Schires 3, Wolhowe 2. Totals: 22-48 FGs, 5-12 3-pt. FGs, 10-13 FTs.

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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