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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Trinity Yoder nets season-high with standard smile on her face

Trinity Yoder bubbled with joy for the Bemidji State women’s basketball team, all the way to a 75-60 win over Winona State inside the BSU Gymnasium.

011222.S.BP.BSUWBB Trinity Yoder.JPG
Bemidji State senior Trinity Yoder points to direct the offense during the first half of a game against Winona State on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- On nights like Friday, a smile isn’t going to leave Trinity Yoder’s face very often.

That is, until the next play starts. Then Yoder gets down to business by menacing ball-handlers and terrorizing defenders -- and finally reprising the smile once the whistle blows.

“Winning is what makes it super fun,” Yoder said. “But making plays and watching other people have fun too, that lifts my spirits. … I’ve done it as long as I can remember.”

Yoder bubbled with joy for the Bemidji State women’s basketball team, all the way to a 75-60 win over Winona State inside the BSU Gymnasium.

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011222.S.BP.BSUWBB Trinity Yoder smile.JPG
Bemidji State's Trinity Yoder (left), Taylor Vold (33) and Rachael Heittola (32) share a laugh in between plays of a game against Winona State on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

“She does it all,” head coach Chelsea DeVille said of Yoder’s skillset. “She’s my go-to, and she’s my gritty (tone-setter) a lot of the time.”

Yoder was just one of the Beavers who set the tone on both ends of the floor. The team reeled off perhaps its most complete win all year in a game that wasn’t as close as a 15-point margin indicates.

“That was the best we’ve played as a team on both ends in a long time. Everyone showed up,” DeVille said. “They played one possession at a time, and it was a really good team win all around.”

And it doesn’t hurt that they have fun while doing it.

011222.S.BP.BSUWBB Rachael Heittola.JPG
Bemidji State sophomore Rachael Heittola (32) tries to block a shot during the first half of a game against Winona State on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

“That’s all I want them to do,” DeVille said. “The last thing I say in the locker room is, ‘Go enjoy it, have fun.’ The last thing I say before tipoff is, ‘All right, have fun.’ And (Yoder) does it. They all do. It’s fun to see them enjoying it.”

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Yoder finished her night with a season-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists. It was an on-par showing for Yoder, who ranks second in the NSIC with 5.2 assists per game and has led Bemidji State in assists 50 times in her career.

“She’s just grown up so much on controlling things,” DeVille said. “She can go by anybody. If she gets stopped, she’s now finding assists every night. And she’s rebounding, guarding the best off-the-bounce person on the other team.”

011222.S.BP.BSUWBB Claire Wolhowe.JPG
Bemidji State senior Claire Wolhowe (24) tries for a rebound off a free throw during a game against Winona State on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

After a 14-14 first quarter, the Beavers (8-5, 6-3 NSIC) took off in the second and third frames by outscoring the Warriors 45-27.

There was nothing flashy about it, either, just a talented team that didn’t play down to its opponent. The lead grew as high as 22 in a game that was never in doubt.

“It raises our expectations for ourselves,” Yoder said. “Tonight, we played very unselfish. We were looking for that extra pass, trying to out-rebound them. We stuck to things that really worked. It was a team win tonight.”

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011222.S.BP.BSUWBB Sydney Zerr.JPG
Bemidji State senior Sydney Zerr shoots a 3-pointer during the first half of a game against Winona State on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

Sydney Zerr also lit it up from 3-point range, scoring 12 points on a 4-for-6 performance from downtown. Rachael Heittola added 14 points and eight rebounds, while 10 different Beavers scored and 13 entered the game.

“How we played tonight is how we want to play every single night,” Yoder said. “Tonight was a really good win. And it feels good having everyone play.”

Bemidji State’s Saturday game against Upper Iowa was canceled due to COVID-19 within the Peacocks program. BSU will instead return to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, against Minnesota State in Mankato.

Bemidji State 75, Winona State 60

WSU 14 11 16 19 -- 60

BSU 14 20 25 16 -- 75

WINONA STATE (6-7, 3-6 NSIC) -- Fee 14, Hustad 11, Dornfeld 9, Riley 9, Schimenz 6, Hahn 5, Breunig 2, Dechant 2, Fautsch 2. Totals: 21-57 FGs, 3-15 3-pt. FGs, 15-19 FTs.

BEMIDJI STATE (8-5, 6-3 NSIC) -- Yoder 22, Heittola 14, Zerr 12, Bachmann 6, Schires 6, Rezabek 4, Swanson 4, Barrette 3, Vold 2, Wolhowe 2.

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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