With a sputtering offense and leading scorer Carly Boag limited to 18 minutes before fouling out, the Minot State University women's basketball team could've easily folded on Friday.
Instead, the Beavers made enough plays down the stretch to hold off Minnesota Crookston 72-64 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matchup at the MSU Dome.
Boag fouled out with a team-high 20 points with 3:49 remaining, and a subsequent free throw by UMC guard Cienna Walker cut the Beavers' lead to 62-59.
Minot State University junior Katie Hardy releases a jump shot over Minnesota Crookston's Ebony Livingston on Friday at the MSU Dome.
MSU junior Katie Hardy answered with a short jumper on the next possession and Christina Boag and Morgan Klose scored on the following two trips to give MSU a nine-point lead.
UMC (7-10 overall, 4-9 NSIC) didn't get closer than five points the rest of the way.
"We did what we had to do," said MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding, whose team shot 40 percent from the field and committed 18 turnovers. "It wasn't a pretty game tonight, but you've gotta give Crookston some credit. They played extremely hard and they come at you with everything. Defensively we weren't great and offensively, no matter what they came at us with, we didn't execute well."
The Beavers (13-4, 9-4) opened the game on a 13-0 run and had six players score in the first five minutes.
"I was really worried about the transition game coming in," said UMC assistant Nate Mahlen, who filled in for head coach Mike Roysland while he dealt with a family matter. "They get out and run. Obviously with the (6-foot-2) Boag sisters inside, we're a little undermanned inside size-wise. They're two very good players."
After MSU's initial run, UMC crawled back behind some timely 3-point shooting and solid play from Katrina Moenkedick, who scored 12 of her 20 points before halftime. MSU led 36-29 at the intermission.
Moenkedick finished with a game-high 13 rebounds and sophomore guard Alexa Thielman hit five 3-pointers en route to 21 points.
"They both work really hard and obviously gave us some problems," Green Gerding said. "I thought we lost our focus a few times and we lost track of Thielman and then a couple times we lost track of trying to take away what (Moenkedick) does well."
Christina Boag (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Katie Hardy (10 points, 10 boards) recorded double-doubles to pick up the slack when Carly Boag was on the bench. Klose and reserve guard Diondra Denton each hit big 3s in the second half when the Golden Eagles were threatening.
"When Carly's out, that's missing a big presence down low, but I think everyone did a good job," Klose said. "We were switching screens and we had enough guards out there to do that. They hit some shots and we didn't execute very well, but we got enough buckets when we needed them."
MSU hosts Bemidji State (8-9, 4-9) today at 4 p.m.