BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Gymnasium) - After playing the first 16 games of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season without a win, the Bemidji State University women’s basketball team led from wire to wire to defeat the University of Minnesota, Crookston, 78-76 Saturday evening in Bemidji, Minn.
The Beavers jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back. A pair of free-throws by Samantha Baldwin (Fr., G, St. Thomas, N.D.) were successful at 18:20 to get the Beavers on the board. On the next two possessions for the Beavers senior Melissa Roberts (F, Staples, Minn.) netted four of her six points to give BSU the early 6-0 lead.
Diana Taddy got the Golden Eagles on the board with a three at 17:08 to bring UMC to within 6-3 but the Beavers would counter mounting a 9-3 run pushing their lead to 15-6 off a Colleen McKay (So., F, Barnum, Minn.) jumper with 14:58 left in the half.
The Golden Eagles would cut the Beavers lead to three points three times before the half but that was as close as they could get as BSU went into the half up 42-37.
The Beavers opened the second half scoring 11 of the first 15 points pushing its lead to 12 (53-41) with 16:11 to go in the contest. Over the next 4:26 the Golden Eagles mounted a 13-1 run to tie the game for the first time at 54-54 with 11:45 remaining.
BSU countered with a 7-0 run which was spearheaded by the senior duo of Heidi Matzke (Sr., G, Red Lake Falls, Minn.) and Roberts. Matzke netted the first five points of the run while Roberts ended the run with a jumper giving BSU a 61-54 lead with just over eight minutes left. A layup by UMC’s Bri Zabel brought UMC to within two points (76-74) with 11 seconds left but a pair of free-throws by Matzke with eight seconds remaining sealed up BSU’s first conference victory of the season, 78-76.
Matzke would go on to score 18 of her game-high 25 points in the final 20-minutes of play for her seventh 20-point performance of the season. In addition to Matzke, Baldwin netted a career-high 14 points on while Taylor Davis (Fr., F, Crookston, Minn.) chipped in 10 points. Baldwin grabbed a team-high nine rebounds while Matzke and Baldwin both dished out four assists.
Megan Eul paced the Golden Eagles putting up double-double numbers. The post player tied Matzke for a game-high 25 points while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Jamie Zelinsky added 17 points while Bri Zabel had 12 for UMC. Zabel also had a game-high seven assists.
The win brings BSU to 3-21 on the season and 1-16 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, snapping a 19-game losing streak, longest in the program’s history. The win also brings the Beavers all-time record versus the Golden Eagles to 17-7.
BSU finished the game shooting 39.5-percent (27-68) from the field, just 16.7-percent (4-24) from three point range and 74.1-percent (20-27) from the free-throw line while UMC was just 38.1-percent (24-63) from the field, 37.5-percent (6-16) from behind the arc and 68.8-percent (22-32) from the free-throw line. BSU also outrebounded UMC 47-42.
The Beavers are back in action again next weekend when they travel to Winona, Minn. to take on the Winona State University Warriors on Saturday, Feb. 21. Game time is set for 6 p.m. from WSU’s McCown Gymnasium.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).