Wald surpasses 1,000 points, Beavers sweep NSIC weekend for the first time
With a deep, straightaway 3-pointer and a free throw made shortly after, senior guard Madison Wald joined her teammate Kari Clements in the exclusive Minot State women’s basketball 1,000-career point club.
The milestone moment on Saturday afternoon was part of an explosive first half for the Beavers (9-11, 4-10 NSIC) in a 80-69 home victory over Minnesota Crookston (10-10, 5-9 NSIC) at the Minot State Dome.
“What I’m most excited for tonight is just getting the second win of the weekend,” Wald said. “But, this is really cool and a good milestone to hit. I’m just happy we won.”
It’s the first time this season that the Beavers have won both conference games in a weekend series.
“I thought we were clicking on all cylinders,” MSU head coach Mark Graupe said about the first half in which the Beavers unloaded for 46 points.
MSU came out shooting. The Beavers went 10-for-15 from the floor in the first quarter to open up a 21-12 lead. Crookston relied heavily on shooting 3-pointers early on but started off 2-for-11 behind the arc.
The Beavers scooped up the missed shots to outrebound the Golden Eagles in the first half, 23-9. Mariah Payne, Calli Delsman and Clements each had five rebounds at the break.
“We were excited coming off of last night,” Delsman said, as MSU defeated Bemidji State in double overtime on Friday. “We were ready and prepared. We wanted this to be our first sweep and had a lot of energy going.”
Wald needed 14 points entering the contest to become the third Minot State woman to reach 1,000 points in the Division II era. Wald didn’t wait around, scoring 16 points in the first half to join Clements and MSU’s leading DII scorer Carly Boag (2012-14 with 1,104 points) in the exclusive club.
“(Wald) and Kari (Clements) have both meant so much to this program,” Graupe said. “With Maddie (Wald) being a local gal, I hope the fans come out and see her because we only have two weekends left (at home). I think it would be really cool for a lot of Minot people to come out and treasure watching her play.”
Despite holding all the momentum and a direct halftime speech, the Beavers still let up in the second half and allowed Crookston to hang around. MSU was outscored, 21-11, in the third quarter.
“I don’t know what to do because that is all we talked about at halftime,” Graupe said. “We told them that we got to win the first four minutes of the second half. So, I don’t know if it matters what we say. That’s what we emphasized and, sure enough, it went the other way… But the bottom line is, the girls find a way.”
The Beavers got Crookston’s leading scorer, senior 6-foot forward Isieoma Odor (18.2 points per game), off the floor in foul trouble. Odor picked up her fourth foul in the middle of the third quarter when Delsman attacked the rim, made the bucket and drew the foul to give MSU a 57-42 lead.
Odor was held to nine points and four rebounds in the contest.
“(Odor) is as tough as a matchup as there is, for us,” Graupe said. “She got in foul trouble. But, maybe due to us somewhat, because we wanted to attack her.”
MSU used a 7-0 run to start the final quarter to regain a comfortable cushion, 64-49. Crookston trimmed the deficit down to nine points, twice, but the Beavers held on.
Wald and Payne tied with a game-high 22 points. Clements collected 10 points. Delsman nearly posted a double-double with nine points and a team-high nine rebounds.
“We kept our composure and finished the game,” Wald said. “That’s all that matters.”
MSU shot 55 percent for the game after shooting 65.6 percent in the first half.
Crookston was led by Caitlin Michaelis and Abby Guidinger with 12 points each.
“I have had my eye on this weekend before the season even started,” Graupe said about the importance of a weekend sweep. “Now, we are one game behind fifth place (in the NSIC North standings). Our goal for a while now has been fifth place. I want to see if we can accomplish our mid-season, long-term goal of getting fifth place.”
The Beavers return to the Minot State Dome next weekend for NSIC contests against Augustana (Feb. 1) and Wayne State (Feb. 2).
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.