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No. 14 Sioux Falls coasts by MSU WBB

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State guard Bethany Theodore (left) drives to the basket Saturday afternoon against Sioux Falls. MSU lost 87-53.

Sioux Falls, ranked No. 14 in the most recent NCAA Division II WBCA Coaches’ Poll, didn’t waste much time messing around with the Minot State women’s basketball team on Saturday inside the MSU Dome.

The Cougars (17-2, 10-2 NSIC) put the hammer down early and never looked back for a dominating 87-53 road over the Beavers (3-13, 0-12 NSIC). MSU dropped its 12th game in a row.

“In our last three games, we had given up 26 (points in the first quarter),” MSU head coach Mark Graupe recalled. “So, we said let’s not get beat by the two girls who can really shoot it. Let’s try something they haven’t seen all year, so we tried a triangle-and-two (defense). Then, No. 3 stepped up — she had hit five threes coming into this weekend all year — and she hits three (3-pointers). But we took a chance.”

Sharpshooting No. 3 was Sioux Falls senior guard Augusta Thramer, who put the Cougars up 11-3 with her accurate display from behind the arc.

Five minutes into the contest and Sioux Falls had already built up a 10-point cushion. MSU was never able to get the deficit back down to single digits.

The Beavers gave up 23 points in the first quarter this time around.

“After they hit a couple of threes, I think we just got down on ourselves,” MSU freshman guard Lucy Chapman said. “We couldn’t lift ourselves up. At the start of the second half, we brought it back a little bit. But, at the end, it got away from us again.”

Summarizing the Beavers’ struggles in the first half, MSU forward Calli Delsman blindly took a skip pass off the side of her head for a perplexing and rather painful turnover.

MSU junior guard Bethany Theodore finished the first half with a coast-to-coast drive that took under five seconds to beat the buzzer with a layup. She was also fouled in the process but missed the free throw.

Sioux Falls, shooting 54.8% from the floor, led 43-22 at halftime.

“They just have so many weapons,” Graupe said. “They basically start five guards, and that presents a problem for everyone. The 6-foot girl Anna Goodhope is an NDSU transfer. She played guard at NDSU, and now she is guarding the post.”

Thirteen different Cougars scored in the game with four reaching double figures: Kaely Hummel (15), Thramer (15), Jessie Geer (15) and Mariah Szymanski (14).

MSU outscored Sioux Falls, 24-21, in the third quarter. But the Cougars held the Beavers to only 7 points in the final frame to wrap up the lopsided 87-53 victory.

The Beavers rotated through different defensive schemes through the contest. But nothing could seemingly slow down Sioux Falls.

“I wanted to get (Sioux Falls) out of rhythm,” Graupe said. “Maybe get them to burn a timeout, and then change defenses. Maybe that could keep us close. It didn’t work.”

MSU senior guard Mariah Payne, who is nursing a back injury, managed to put up a team-high 18 points on 5-for-12 shooting. Theodore added 10 points. Anna Counts, Mollie Wilson and Delsman each grabbed seven rebounds.

The Beavers shot 34% from the field (26.7% on 3-pointers).

“We had some good patches,” Chapman said. “But they’re a really aggressive team and a really good shooting team.”

After back-to-back weekends at home, the Beavers hit the road for back-to-back weekends away from home.

Next week, MSU will travel to Bemidji State on Friday (Jan. 24) and Minnesota Crookston on Saturday (Jan. 25).

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

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