After shredding Minnesota Duluth the previous night, the Minot State University women's basketball team produced a head-scratching loss to St. Cloud State on Saturday.
The Beavers got crushed on the offensive glass and trailed by as many as 33 points before making it a semi-respectable 86-73 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference loss at the MSU Dome.
The defeat snapped MSU's four-game winning streak, which came on the heels of another low-energy setback at the hands of then-No. 14 Wayne State.
Minot State University junior Christina Boag goes up for a layup against St. Cloud State on Saturday at the MSU Dome.
"Honestly, I think we beat ourselves," said MSU junior Katie Hardy, who tallied 18 points. "The four games that we've lost have all been because we just didn't come out with anything. When we actually decide to that we're gonna come out with full-fledged effort, we'll win. But if we come out like we did, let them over and over shoot their shots, we're not gonna win a game."
MSU (12-4 overall, 8-4 NSIC) started the game on an 8-2 run, but SCSU quickly seized control. The Huskies used a 13-0 spurt that lasted barely three minutes to turn a six-point deficit into a 19-12 lead.
Runs of six and seven unanswered points later in the half helped the visitors take a 53-35 lead into the locker room.
The Huskies (10-6, 6-6) beat MSU 23-13 on the glass in the opening half as MSU struggled to rebound out of its 2-3 zone.
"I didn't think we competed defensively and I didn't think we competed on the boards," MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said. "It seems like we just go into those phases and that's where we were until probably the last eight minutes of the game, where we stepped it up and made it look like a game."
SCSU outrebounded MSU 38-26 for the game and placed five scorers in double figures. The Huskies got 61 points from their starters and reserve post player Karissa LeCaptain scored a career-high 13.
"I thought we did a nice job of finding the open player tonight and really sharing the basketball," SCSU coach Lori Fish said. "I thought we scored in a variety of ways, it wasn't just in the post. We were able to knock down a couple outside shots, too, but I thought our post players did a tremendous job inside scoring."
MSU shot 55 percent from the field, but looked hesitant against SCSU's 2-3 zone and committed 23 turnovers. The Beavers shot 4 of 17 from 3-point range.
"We weren't moving the ball well and careless passing caused us problems tonight," said Green Gerding, whose team had 24 assists to 16 miscues in its 84-66 win over Duluth on Friday.
"Their zone worked in their favor. They got us to crank up 3s and we didn't hit 'em and we kind of just settled for that for awhile and stood around the whole first half."
SCSU grabbed its largest lead at 74-41 with 13:08 remaining. Green Gerding benched all of her starters aside from Hardy and the Beavers made a couple of runs to avoid a lopsided final margin.
Senior post Carly Boag scored a game-high 26 points on 13 of 15 shooting, but the Beavers made several turnovers attempting to force passes to her in the post.
"I just think that we go as our energy goes and this is the third out of fourth (loss) that we just failed to compete and I don't really have an answer to that," Green Gerding said. "Bottom line is kids have to come out ready to go and give a great effort. There's nights the ball won't go in the hole but you can always give an effort."
Sophomore forward Bridger Rice - part of MSU's group of reserves that gave SCSU trouble late in the game - suffered a low ankle sprain and was helped off the court.
The Beavers host Minnesota Crookston on Friday.
Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.