Beavers fall to MSU Moorhead 57-33 in NSIC opener

Minot State guard Jaime Skeggs was one of two Beavers players to score in double-digits on the road in Thursday night’s loss to NSIC adversary MSU Moorhead.

Taking to the road on Thursday for their first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) game of the season in a meeting with Minnesota State University Moorhead, the Minot State University Beavers women’s basketball team aimed to parlay their recent stretch of scorching-hot shooting from deep into their fifth win of the season.

Coming off a 91-60 home debut victory on Tuesday against the Dickinson State Blue Hawks, the MSU Beavers (4-2 overall, 0-0 NSIC) entered Thursday’s conference opener riding the momentum of a blazing 10-of-16, 62.5-percent shooting performance from three-point range in the contest that contributed heavily to securing the win.

Along with generating stellar offensive output, outstanding defensive efforts by both the MSU starters and bench contributors played a significant role in their victory, as they combined to convert 20 forced turnovers into 30 points for the Beavers.

When the smoke had cleared on the matchup, MSU also finished the night with 22 total assists, a 32-17 edge on the boards, and tallied 44 points courtesy of the deep Beavers bench.

Heading into last night’s showdown with the Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons (3-2 overall, 0-1 NSIC), the Beavers were gunning to not only end Moorhead’s current two-game winning streak, but close the 17-4 winning advantage the Dragons have over MSU in their all-time series matchups.

Pockets of warmly-clothed students and other fans dotted the stands at the Nemzek Fieldhouse as action tipped off on the NSIC battle, with stiff defense dominating the first quarter of play.

Both teams held their opponent scoreless for nearly the first two minutes of action until Moorhead’s Mariah McKeever knocked down a jumper within the arc to break the scoring ice and provide the Dragons with the first lead of the game at 2-0.

Unrelenting in their application of offensive pressure to the Beavers, the Dragons proceeded to build a 7-0 lead before Minot State’s Emma Mogen put the first points of the game on the board for her team via an assist from Emily Srejma with just 89 seconds left in the quarter to draw the score to 7-2.

Kicking off the second quarter of play with a 10-2 advantage, Moorhead continued to operate a very paced, balanced offense, in the process building an 11-point lead, their largest of the night, by stretching their advantage to 20-9 with 3:25 to go until halftime.

However, refusing to break under the pressure, Minot State’s Jaime Skeggs would knock down five unanswered points on assists from Breianna Smestad and Vilborg Jonsdottir to narrow the Dragons lead to a two-possession score of 20-14 before Moorhead sent the game into the half holding a 24-16 advantage.

At the midway point, the Beavers were in dire need of offensive adjustments, shooting just 6-30 from the field for a 20-percent average in the first 20 minutes of play, a number heavily skewed by a 1-15 effort in the first quarter.

Unfortunately for Minot State, the Dragons picked up where they left off to start the second half, pouring on the points and outscoring the Beavers 16-9 in the third quarter to stretch the score to 40-25 and push the Moorhead lead to 15 heading into the final 10 minutes.

Struggling to find a crack in the Dragons defense, Minot State had just one final quarter to find their offensive footing after shooting just 4-16 in the third quarter, and 10-46 as a whole on the game to that point.

Yet, in spite of the fortitude shown by a gritty Beavers squad, Moorhead persisted in capitalizing on virtually every opportunity down the floor, in the process over doubling Minot State’s scoring output in the fourth quarter by a margin of 17-8 and putting the finishing touches on a dominant wire-to-wire, 57-33 conference victory.

Peyton Boom (14 points), Mariah McKeever (13 points), and Natalie Jens (13 points) paced the Dragons with double-digit scoring in the win, while Kate Head and Skeggs each posted 10 points for Minot State and accounted for 20 of the team’s 33 total points.

Jonsdottir made her presence felt in the Beavers lineup in the way of four assists and four steals in the loss.

Still hunting for their first NSIC win of the season, Minot State welcomes conference foe Northern State University to the Minot State Dome on Saturday at 1 p.m.


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