BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The guard-oriented Bemidji State University women’s basketball team just didn’t have height to battle with the tall Northern State University Wolves Friday night, falling 84-73 in an Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference contest played at BSU Gymnasium. Sophomore Taylor Davis (F, Crookston, Minn.) led the team in scoring for the second consecutive game, putting 20 points on the board in the loss.
The Beavers (9-7, 3-6 NSIC) struggled on the defensive glass all game, as they were pitted against Northern State’s 6-foot-6 Krista Rabenberg and 6-foot-3 Jenna Higgins, while playing without their tallest player, 6-foot-1 freshman Emily Kaus (C, Eagan, Minn.). BSU pulled down 23 defensive rebounds, but NSU had 21 offensive rebounds, nine of which came from the tandem. The offensive boards led to the Wolves outscoring BSU 34-22 in the paint and earning 21 second change points to BSU’s 11. NSU also had 6-foot-1 Mikayla Barondeau cleaning the glass, as she tied her career-high in rebounds with 22, six of which were on offense. Kaus missed the game due to an injury sustained against St. Cloud State Jan. 9.
The height advantage also forced the Beavers to foul, committing 25 infractions to NSU’s 15. The Wolves went 24-for-32 from the line, while BSU went just 11-of-14. The Beavers shot the ball well from downtown, making 10 of their 21 attempts for a 47.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc, well over their average this season of 35.8 percent. BSU shot 40 percent from the field and the Wolves had a 43.3 percentage.
BSU stormed out of the gates to start the game, flying to a 9-0 lead with 14:56 reading on the scoreboard. A 6-0 run by NSU cut the home team’s lead to three. The Beavers held a 19-12 lead with 8:37 remaining in the half and then the Wolves started using their height to ware-down and frustrate BSU. NSU went on a 12-0 run over the next 2:06, owning a 24-19 lead. Rabenberg, Higgins and Barondeau scored seven points in the run. The Wolves stretched the lead to as many as 12 during the remainder of the half, but a sophomore Sydney Epema (G, Crookston, Minn.) 3-pointer cut the NSU lead to seven before the first half expired.
The Beavers again shot out of the locker room in the second half and used a 16-4 run over the frame’s first seven minutes to grab a seven point advantage. BSU then again fell into a lull and a 8-0 run by the Wolves gave them a one point lead with 11:06 on the clock. Epema ended the drought with a 3-point dagger, but Higgins responded on the other end to knot the game at 53-53 with 10:50 left. The next 1:36 saw zero points put on the board as the two teams traded turnovers. Rabenberg knocked down a jumper to end the mess and give NSU a two-point lead. The two teams traded baskets for the following four minutes, with the Wolves never relinquishing their lead. Two Davis free throws cut BSU’s deficit to four with 3:46 ticks on the clock, with a score of 66-62. Unfortunately for the Beavers, the game of runs continued and NSU went on a 6-0 run to take a commanding 72-62 lead with 2:27 left in regulation. BSU couldn’t find a way back into the contest playing the foul game as NSU hit 12-of-14 from the line down the stretch and lost by 11.
Davis added six rebounds and went 6-of-6 from the line. Epema scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Anna Hebrink (G, Austin, Minn.) scored 13 points and added a team-high eight rebounds and four assists.
The Beavers complete the conference weekend with the University of Mary Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. in the BSU Gymnasium.
State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II
institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference