Entering Minot State University's 74-73 win against the University of Mary on Saturday, MSU women's basketball coach Sheila Green Gerding was worried about shutting down the Marauders' stable of capable shooters.
When Mary went cold from the field in the second half, the Beavers made their game-winning run.
As MSU prepares to host a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games this weekend, however, its opponents share a trait that is less prone to fluctuation - size.
Minot State University guard Sacarra Molina looks to pass against the University of Mary during the Beavers' win Saturday at the Bismarck Civic Center.
The Beavers (3-0 overall, 1-0 NSIC) play a Minnesota State-Moorhead squad at 6 tonight that features five players at or above the 6-foot mark. Saturday's opponent, Northern State (S.D.), has seven players 6-feet or taller.
"They're both gonna look to get the ball inside and yet they have quality people on the perimeter," Green Gerding said. "I think they're both very good teams and a little bit harder, I think, for us to match up with because of their size."
MSU has four active 6-footers, but only two that average more than 20 minutes per game - 6-3 freshman Savana Kingsbury (6.7 points, 5 rebounds per game) and 6-2 junior Carly Boag (19.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
MSU plays a four-guard lineup at times, but has gotten production out of Kingsbury and Boag by playing them together for stretches.
"We haven't decided really which way we're gonna go yet," Green Gerding said. "We could have two true posts, or at times we might still have the four and one post in so we have to really be aware of our lineups and what's the best option for us while we're in it."
With any lineup, much of the onus will be on the guards to rebound. MSU's 5-7 shooting guard Sacarra Molina pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds against the Marauders while guarding their 5-11 leading scorer Shaunna Knife.
"It's expected on your entire team to turn around and box out no matter what your size is," Molina said. "If you're 5-7 and you're putting your body on a 6-3, that should still be your board."
Aside from having size and scoring balance - the Dragons have three players averaging 13-plus points and Northern State has four averaging nine or more - MSU's opponents are quite different.
Green Gerding said the Dragons play a lot of man-to-man and Northern State employs a 1-3-1 zone. Both will represent good tests for the Beavers.
"We obviously have to know where those (double-figure scorers) are at at all times," Molina said. "Moorhead's a very good team. It's gonna be a tough one. We just have to be ready on defense. The offense will come."
Moorhead (4-1, 1-0) beat Northern State (4-1, 0-1) 66-54 on Saturday.