Fatigue cripples MSU women, falls to Concordia

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State's Mariah Payne (left) attempts to dribble past a Concordia-St. Paul defender Saturday afternoon at the Minot State Dome. The Beavers lost 58-46.

Following the hype and excitement of winning its first conference game in overtime Friday night, the Minot State women’s basketball team looked fatigued and depleted Saturday afternoon.

Concordia-St. Paul (9-4, 5-3 NSIC) took advantage with a 58-46 road win against Minot State (6-8, 1-7 NSIC) at the MSU Dome.

“We were hungover,” MSU head coach Mark Graupe said. “We thought we won the national champion (last night) — don’t get me wrong, yesterday’s win was special — and we celebrated. But, I started coaching in 1987 and that second half might have been the worst basketball I’ve ever had to sit through in my 31 years.”

Offense was hard to come by for the Beavers. In the first quarter, they shot 17.6 percent (3-for-17) from the floor and were looking up at a 15-8 deficit.

Coming off the bench, MSU sophomore Calli Delsman drained a pair of 3-pointers. Then, Mariah Payne and Kari Clements joined the three-point party, which turned into a 13-3 MSU run to close out the first half.

Four out of MSU’s eight made field goals in the first half were triples. The same stat was true for Concordia-St. Paul.

The Golden Bears were held scoreless for roughly five minutes in the middle of the second quarter, allowing MSU to lead by a point at halftime, 26-25.

“We had such a terrible start,” Graupe said. “But, then I thought, now we are OK. I expected that because we were hungover. Now, we are focused and have a one-point lead at the half. Phew, we got it out of our system and now watch us in the second half. But, we were just dead.”

Eight different Beavers scored in the first half, led by Delsman with six points on her 3-pointers.

CSP outscored the Beavers, 15-12, in the third quarter after Sidney Wentland hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Golden Eagles.

Despite MSU’s shooting woes, the game didn’t really slip away from the Beavers until the fourth quarter. That’s when CSP sophomore forward Riley Wheatcraft took over.

Wheatcraft, who finished with a game-high 22 points, made four 3-pointers in the final quarter.

Concordia shot over 50 percent in the fourth quarter — the only time either team did that in the contest — to put the Beavers away, 58-46.

Minot State shot 29.1 percent for the game (16-for-55), and the 46 points scored were a season-low.

Clements and Payne each finished with 12 points to lead the Beavers.

Wald (averaging a team-high 14.3 points per game) had a tough afternoon, going 1-for-13 from the floor for two points. MSU starter Haley Hildenbrand was also shut down and she failed to score.

“Our offense was ridiculously bad,” Graupe said. “We couldn’t get a shot off. We couldn’t execute. We got a little crazy by dribbling all the time. Really hard to watch.”

Minot State now has four straight road games ahead. It heads to St. Cloud State first on Friday (Jan. 11) with the follow-up game being against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday (Jan. 12).

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.