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Pat Miller / Forum News Service, Published January 17 2014

Bemidji State beats Dragons in women's hoops

BEMIDJI, Minn. – After allowing an average of 93 points last weekend, Bemidji State entered this week with a focus on its defense, and that emphasis paid dividends as the Beavers defeated MSU Moorhead 64-53 Friday at the BSU gym.

The Beavers held the Dragons to 26.7 percent shooting and held them without a field goal for a span of over nine minutes in each half.

“I thought the defensive effort was the key,” BSU head coach Mike Curfman said. “We have not shot the ball very consistently lately, but the defensive effort is something you can always bring. It is something we really focused on this week.”

The Dragons used a 9-0 run over a three-minute span to help build an early 16-8 lead, and a 3-pointer from Morgan Zabel gave Moorhead a 19-12 advantage midway through the half.

The remainder of the period was dominated by BSU, however.

Following a 3-pointer by Zabel, the Dragons went more than nine minutes without a field goal.

Baskets from Kate Warmack, Jessie Althoff and Lee helped fuel a 16-2 BSU run that resulted in a 28-21 lead late in the first half.

Haley Thomforde ended the drought with a 3-pointer and cut the deficit to four points at 28-24 at the break.

Moorhead was haunted by its 12 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

“That is way too many,” MSUM head coach Karla Nelson said of the first-half miscues. “We are struggling as a basketball team, you tend to force things and that is what we did tonight.”

The Dragons cut their deficit to a single point several times but were unable to regain the lead.

Morgan Lee dialed up a second three-pointer to give BSU its largest cushion up to that point, 54-45, with 3:30 remaining.

Lee scored 19 of her game-high 25 points in the second half.

“We knew that we would have to be the aggressor, so that is what we did,” Lee said. “We knew that we had to take care of the ball as well and we did a good job of it.”

Moorhead got within five points in the final minute but was doomed by not making a field goal in the final 9:50.

Moorhead (9-6, 5-6 NSIC) will play in Crookston at 4 p.m.

MSUM (9-6, 5-6 NSIC): Zabel 4-16 5-6 15, M. Strese 3-14 6-7 12, Thomforde 4-10 0-2 10, Banasik 2-5 0-0 5, Handevidt 1-2 2-4 4, Roehrich 2-6 1-1 5, Van Wyhe 0-5 2-2 2, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, H. Strese 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-60 16-22 53.

BSU (8-7, 4-7): Lee 7-16 9-10 25, Warmack 4-13 4-6 12, Althoff 5-10 0-0 11, Zerr 2-9 3-4 7, Youngblut 0-5 1-2 1, Cordes 1-3 3-4 5, Sheley 0-2 2-2 2, Miller 0-2 1-2 1, Schmidt 0-0 0-0 0, Pelzer 0-0 0-0 0, Valley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-60 23-30 64.

Half: BSU 28, MSUM 24. 3-point goals: MSUM 5-24 (Zabel 2-9, Thomforde 2-5, Banasik 1-2, Roehrich 0-4, Van Wyhe 0-2, Handevidt 0-1, H. Strese 0-1), BSU 3-11 (Lee 2-4, Althoff 1-1, Zerr 0-3, Youngblut 0-1, Cordes 0-1, Miller 0-1). Total fouls: MSUM 23, BSU 21. Rebounds: MSUM 1 (M. Strese 11), BSU 42 (Warmack 13). Assists: MSUM 8 (three tied with 2), BSU 10 (Youngblut 3). Steals: MSUM 2 (Zabel, M. Strese 1), BSU 6 (Lee, Zerr 2). Turnovers: MSUM 16, BSU 6. A: 325.

Miller writes for the Bemidji Pioneer