MSU WBB hangs around but unable to slay No. 24 Dragons

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State senior guard Mariah Payne drives to the basket Saturday afternoon against Minnesota State Moorhead inside the MSU Dome. The Beavers lost 72-62.

The Minot State women’s basketball team allowed the No. 24-ranked Minnesota State Moorhead Dragons to build up an early lead Saturday afternoon.

The Beavers (3-6, 0-5 NSIC) tried to claw back multiple times but weren’t able to erase the early deficit. As a result, MSU lost its fifth straight game. The Dragons (9-3, 4-1 NSIC) won 72-62 to bounce back after an 89-68 loss to U-Mary on Friday.

Moorhead’s largest lead was 18 points in the fourth quarter. But the deficit hovered around the cusp of double-digits throughout the contest.

With 50 seconds to go, Mariah Payne sunk a long mid-range jumper to get the Beavers within seven points at 69-62.

Payne finished with a game-high 22 points and six assists. Anna Counts chipped in with a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) and four blocks. Bethany Theodore and Calli Delsman each added 10 more points for the Beavers.

But it wasn’t enough.

Despite shooting 34.3% from the floor, Moorhead won by 10 points. The Dragons outrebounded the Beavers 47-33 to gain 11 more shots than MSU.

The Beavers shot 39.7% and 5-for-10 on 3-pointers.

Looking to snap this NSIC-losing streak, MSU heads to Bismarck on Dec. 21 to face rival U-Mary. Tipoff at 3:30 p.m.

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