No. 9 Bulldogs end historic Beavers season after 76-67 loss

February 27, 20211st2nd3rd4thFinal
Bemidji St.1220132267
Minn. Duluth1318202576
Stats at a GlanceBSUUMD
FG Percentage.411 (23-56) .426 (26-61)
3P FG Percentage.154 (2-13) .438 (7-16)
FT Percentage.905 (19-21) .773 (17-22)
Offensive Rebounds912
Defensive Rebounds2624
Total Rebounds3536
Bench Points513
PointsHeittola - 29
Olson - 25
ReboundsMyer - 8
Simonet - 8
AssistsMyer - 5
Simonet - 5
StealsVold - 2
Kahl - 4
BlocksBachmann - 1
Myer - 1
Heittola - 1
Rhoades - 1
Grow - 1
No. 9 Bulldogs end historic Beavers season after 76-67 loss
Saturday, February 27, 2021
No. 9 Bulldogs end historic Beavers season after 76-67 loss

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Sanford Pentagon) -- A season Bemidji State University women’s basketball hasn’t seen in over a decade came to an end Saturday as the team fell to No. 9 University of Minnesota Duluth, 76-67, during the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Semifinal round at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Sophomore center Rachael Heittola was three points off her career high after leading all student-athletes with 29, including 19 in the second half. She added seven rebounds and one block on 11-of-21 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Junior guard Trinity Myer chipped in 18 points, including 11 in the second half, mainly on free throws while going 10-of-11 from the line.

The Beavers and Bulldogs were neck-and-neck shooting from the floor, as BSU went 41.1 percent from the field compared to 42.6 percent by UMD. Neither team took a lead of more than 10 points until late in the game. The Bulldogs knocked down seven 3-pointers to the Beavers’ two and also outscored BSU in second-chance points, 19-11. Heittola led BSU’s attack in the post that outscored UMD, 40-34, in the paint.

Bemidji State got off to a slow start offensively, shooting 1-of-5 from the field over the first two minutes of play as Minnesota Duluth took a 6-2 lead. Myer and senior guard Sydney Zerr followed with back-to-back layups to tie the game while the Bulldogs took the lead back with one of their two 3-pointers in the first half. Heittola made two layups followed by a jumper from senior guard Brooklyn Bachmann to give BSU its first lead of the game, 12-10, with one minute to play in the first quarter.

After UMD took the lead back to end the first quarter, it continued to extend its lead to a first-half-high five points, 19-14. The Beavers then answered with an 8-2 run for the fourth lead change of the game. The Bulldogs again took the lead back before the Beavers went on a 5-0 run to its largest lead of the first half, 30-27, with 1:32 to play in the half. BSU held UMD to 1-of-3 shooting to finish the half while Myer sank two free throws just before the buzzer to go into halftime with a 32-31 lead.

The second half began similarly as the first for the BSU offense as it struggled to put in a basket from the field. The Beavers shot 0-of-5 from the floor over the first four and a half minutes of the third quarter as the Bulldogs took a 40-36 lead. An and-one conversion by Heittola kept BSU within one but UMD followed with an 8-2 run to take a seven-point, 48-41 lead. Another and-one conversion, this time by Myer, brought the Beavers back to within four. A UMD 3-pointer, though, set BSU’s deficit at six, 51-45, heading into the final 10 minutes.

Every score of the fourth quarter went back-and-forth between BSU and UMD until the midway point of the fourth quarter when BSU went Heittola recorded her 25th point of the game to start a 7-0 run. Junior forward Taylor Vold followed with a 3-pointer to bring the Beavers within two points while Heittola closed the run with a jump shot to tie the game, 59-59. The game remained tied, 61-61, with 3:16 remaining in the game when UMD got hot from the field. The Bulldogs went 3-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, to pull ahead by double-digits for the first time in the game and finish the game with a nine-point win. BSU shot 2-of-5 from the field, including 0-of-2 from long range, over the final 3:16 while giving away two turnovers.

The Beavers’ season ends with a 10-6 record overall and 8-4 mark in conference games, the first double-digit win season for BSU since the 2012-13. Bemidji State hit several milestones during the season including its first winning season since 1995-96, its highest NSIC North Division finish since the conference split into divisions in 2012-13, its first NSIC Semifinal appearance since 2004, its longest winning streak (7) since 1987-88, its first NSIC Coach of the Year award since 2003-04 and three NSIC Player of the Week awards, tied for the most by BSU in a single-season.

Another milestone hit was the all-time field goal percentage record by senior center Taylor Bray. The Anoka, Minn., native ends her career shooting 54.2 percent from the field, breaking the previous record of 53.6 percent set by Sherry Hill from 1979-82. Bachmann will return in 2021-22 with 985 career points, 15 shy of 1,000 and 18 shy of 10th all-time at BSU, and 254 career assists, 12 shy of 10th all-time at BSU. Zerr will also return next season with 103 career 3-point field goals, 13 shy of 10th all-time at BSU.

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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).