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Flair for the dramatic

MSU women top Bemidji State in double OT, 86-74

Alex Eisen/MDN The Minot State bench, featuring Haley Hildenbrand, Madison Wald and Whitney Molina (left to right), erupts after a three-point play opportunity Friday evening against Bemidji State. MSU won 86-74 in double overtime.

The fingertips of Whitney Molina sent the Minot State women’s basketball team into a second overtime.

Having the game-winning shot overturned at the buzzer could have demoralized the Minot State Beavers. Instead, MSU (8-11, 3-10 NSIC) regrouped in a hurry to earn its third extra time win this season with a 86-74 victory over Bemidji State (4-13, 2-11 NSIC) Friday evening at the Minot State Dome.

“We are very competitive, but just haven’t had things go our way so it’s nice that the overtimes are going our way,” MSU head coach Mark Graupe said. “It’s been 13 games now (in NSIC play) and there was only been three that haven’t been battled right to the buzzer.”

While Graupe conceded that Molina’s put back at the buzzer was a tad tardy. Molina and her teammates weren’t convinced.

“I swear, I thought it was in,” Molina said. “But, even though it didn’t count, it gave us momentum.”

Freshman center Anna Counts added: “It was for sure in at the buzzer. No question in my mind. 100 percent. But, I’m going to watch that film tonight, pull it up and make sure.”

Any separation between the two teams didn’t come until the second overtime.

A close, back-and-forth first half featured five lead changes with Minot State holding the largest lead of seven points, 13-6.

That cushion was erased by a 9-0 Bemidji State run that started at the end of the first quarter and carried into the second quarter.

Small momentum swings were frequent.

Volume shooting and offensive rebounds allowed MSU to build up a slim 27-24 lead at halftime. MSU shot 11-for-31 (35.5 percent) from the floor in the first half, missing a fair share of close-range shots around the rim, but made up for it with a 10-1 advantage on the offensive glass.

Bemidji State scored 15 of its 24 first-half points on 3-pointers (5-for-12), made by four different shooters.

Minot State looked to forward Calli Delsman in the third quarter. She scored seven of her 13 points in the frame.

On three separate occasions in the fourth quarter, the teams traded three points.

First, it was Maria Appicelli and Mariah Payne swapping threes. Then, Brooklyn Bachmann had a triple matched by a three-point play by Counts. Finally, Emma Rappe and Payne countered each other with 3-pointers.

Payne turned a costly double dribble turnover into a steal and a three-point play with 36 seconds left in regulation.

She missed the free throw to keep the score knotted at 60-60.

Both teams missed shots in the final moments to get the game into overtime.

“I think we go into clutch mode when we go into overtime,” Counts said. ” We really come together as a team and say, ‘This is the best team ball we are going to play.'”

MSU led throughout the first overtime but gave up a layup to Trinity Myer with four seconds remaining, 69-69.

MSU’s Kari Clements, who missed a game-winning shot at the end of regulation, had another chance at the end of the first overtime. But, she overshot her layup.

Molina was waiting on the other side of the rim, put up the offensive rebound and watched the shot got through with the buzzer going off.

The bucket was initially counted but, after review, was overturned.

“They counted it good so there has to be evidence (to overturn it),” Graupe said. “So, I don’t dispute it at all.”

There was enough proof, and another overtime ensued.

Minot State, not fazed by having to play another overtime, built up a lead with free throws in double overtime.

Molina went 8-for-8 at the charity stripe across both overtime periods.

“I was just mentally prepared, stepped up and hit them,” Molina said.

MSU outscored Bemidji State 17-5 in double overtime for the 86-74 win.

“We could have been deflated going into the second overtime,” Graupe said. “They were elevated, but we didn’t quit.”

Five different MSU players finished in double figures: Payne (18), Wald (15), Delsman (13), Clements (12) and Molina (10). Molina also grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double.

Counts finished with eight points and five rebounds.

MSU shot 40.3 percent from the floor, but outrebounded Bemidji State, 50-32 (20-8 offensive rebounds).

Bachmann and Myer each collected 13 points to lead Bemidji State.

In the second game of a four-game homestand, Minot State will host Minnesota Crookston at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon at the Minot State Dome. It’s the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Beavers are 15-8 all-time against the Golden Eagles.

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

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