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Lady Beavers in search of first win against Minnesota Crookston

Following a canceled series and an unexpected week off, the Minot State women’s basketball squad is itching to return to the court this weekend for a two-game set at home against the University of Minnesota Crookston.

The series against St. Cloud State scheduled for last weekend had to be called off due to Coronavirus-related issues. Now, the lost time threw a wrench in head coach Mark Graupe’s plans for his team heading into another weekend slate with a tough team coming to town.

“The players had a week off,” he said during a Monday press conference. “They had to quarantine; we didn’t have the virus but we still had to quarantine. We went a straight week without practice.”

After opening the season Jan. 2 in the first of two games against Southwest Minnesota State University and completing the subsequent two-game series against the University of Minnesota Duluth, the team has not played since Jan. 9.

With eyes now on the horizon, Graupe is now focused on what his team needs to do to not only overcome the missed time, but to prepare itself for a real test against the Golden Eagles. He brought up the great battles the Beavers fought with Crookston last season, a 78-76 defeat on the road followed by a 77-66 victory in Minot later in the year, as a testament to how the team needs to be firing on all cylinders.

Add to that the fact that the Golden Eagles have had the luxury of not only keeping most of their players from last season, but being able to add solid players to the mix. Graupe referenced Crookston freshman Jes Mertens, the team’s leading scorer.

The Beavers are not without the talent to match Crookston. Junior forward Amber Stevahn leads the team in scoring and rebounding, with 60 total points and 20 total boards through her first four games this year. Kate Head, a junior guard out of Brisbane, Australia, holds the team lead in assists with 17. The key, according to Graupe, is to get the rest of the squad in on the offensive action.

“What I would like to see is more balance. I’d like to see three or four players in double digit scoring,” he remarked. “We haven’t had that this year. Calli Delsman had a great game the last time, but I’d like to see a nice flow and start getting more balance in the scoring, start getting four players in double digits.”

He also made note of the 20 turnovers the Beavers committed in the first game against the Bulldogs, and the team lost 11 more the next night en route to a two-game sweep.

Now, with only four games under their belts entering the weekend series, the Beavers will need to shake off the rust, hold onto the ball, and intensify their attack on the glass as they search for their first win of the young campaign.

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