Sioux Falls Gets Road Sweep At Bemidji State

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BEMIDJI, MN -- WOMEN'S RECAP
The No. 15 University of Sioux Falls Women's Basketball team fought tooth-and-nail in an interdivision Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) matchup with Bemidji State, a contest that concluded in a, 73-64, victory for the Cougars, who move to 19-3, 12-3 NSIC on the season.

With the win, the Cougars maintain the top spot in the NSIC South, and got help with Minnesota Duluth and UMary, as the Golden Eagles knocked off the Winona State Warriors to put two games between USF and WSU, then an overtime victory for UMary put Wayne State three games behind the Cougars.

The Numbers-
Leading the Cougars offensively was none other than NSIC South Preseason Player of the Year, senior Kaely Hummel. The Cherokee, Iowa, native scored a team-high 17 points on the night, including a three-pointer that put Hummel only nine three-pointers away from tying the record for career treys made.

Also, in double digits on the night were seniors Mariah Szymanski and Jessie Geer with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Despite being heavily outscored on the charity stripe by the Beavers (22-to-12), the Cougars separated themselves from BSU off the turnover, scoring 20 points off the turnover compared to the Beavers' six. In total, the Cougars had a plus-nine turnover margin (20-to-11).

Game Highlights-
First Quarter-
- After Bemidji State made it a 6-5 Cougar lead, USF finished the quarter on a 9-0 run.
- The Cougars held the Beavers to five points in the quarter, the lowest score the Cougars allowed in a quarter this season.
- USF was stellar on defense in the opening 10 minutes, holding the Beavers to only 16.7 percent (2-for-12).
Score – USF 15, BSU 5
Second Quarter-
- Bemidji State opened the quarter on a 4-2 run, making it a 17-9 USF lead.
- After the 4-2 start by BSU, the Cougars pounced for another 9-0 run, going ahead 26-9.
- With the game at 26-9, both teams went just under two minutes without a score, before Bemidji State broke the slump.
Score – USF 36, BSU 19
Third Quarter-
- The Beavers opened their strongest quarter on a 10-2 run.
- BSU finished the quarter on an 8-3 run to get within four of the Cougars.
- The Beavers had an immaculate third quarter, going 8-for-8 from the field, 4-for-4 from three-point range, and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Score – USF 47, BSU 43
Fourth Quarter-
- The Cougars opened the fourth quarter on a 13-5 run, which included a trey from both Hummel and Geer
- Szymanski hit a pair of free throws at the 2:37 mark to put USF ahead 16, the largest lead of the game for USF.
- Nine of the Beavers' 21 fourth quarter points came at the charity stripe.
FINAL – USF 73, BSU 64

Next for the Cougars-
The Cougars will now take the night off and get ready for their contest against Minnesota Crookston in Crookston. That game is set for a 3:30 tip-off.

MEN'S RECAP
With a 16-0 run midway through the game and balanced scoring, the University of Sioux Falls Men's Basketball Team (16-5, 12-3 NSIC) earned a 66-54 road Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory over Bemidji State (8-11, 5-10, NSIC) at the BSU Gymnasium Friday night (Jan 31).

On the final day of January, the Cougars earned a second straight victory and with it a two-game edge in the NSIC South at 12-3, which is a mark tied for the overall league lead. In addition, USF continued its DII program-best start at 16-5 as they head to Minnesota Crookston for a 5:30 p.m., contest on Saturday.

USF Head Coach Chris Johnson was pleased with the resilience of his team, which battled back from an early nine-point deficit (25-16) to end a two-game losing streak to BSU.

"I thought we had good looks all night and when we didn't turn it over had good offense," said Johnson. I felt like we defended really well," said Johnson, who now has 227 career wins with 211 while becoming USF career-wins leader. "We kept answering them in the second half which was big for us. We had a five-minute span from 12-minute mark to seven-minute mark (second half) when we extended our lead and played as well offensively as we have all year. I am really pleased with our effort but we have another tough one tomorrow and we have to continue to get better," he said.

With 5:36 left in the first half, USF which trailed BSU, 25-16, made its game-defining move. The Cougars ended the half on a 13-2 run, which included a 10-0 run over the final three minutes. Then, USF opened the second half with six straight points and eventually built a 19-point lead (62-43, 5:52 second half) en route to the 16th win of the season.

USF was led by four players in double digits, which included junior forward Teathloach Pal with 12 points and nine rebounds. Pal, who just missed his second straight double-double, hit 5-of-11 field goals. USF also had 12 points from senior Devin Green, who was 5-of-7 from the floor and grabbed four rebounds. USF had 11 points from sophomore Chase Grinde, who hit a trio of three pointers as USF was 8-of-17 for 47 percent on the night. Also USF had 10 points, three rebounds and two assists from freshman guard Jack Thompson. Junior guard Trevon Adams added eight points, including two threes, and five rebounds.

After leading 28-27 at the halftime break, USF outscored the home-standing Beavers, 36-27 over the second 20 minutes. USF hit 25-of-50 shots from the field for 50 percent and held a 34-25 advantage on the board as they outrebounded an opponent for the 19th time in 21 games. The Cougars also shared the ball with 13 assists on 25 made baskets and defended with six steals and two blocks.

Key numbers for USF was a 32-to-20 advantage of points in the paint, 10-4 margin in second chance points and a 22-5 margin in points off the bench. As for BSU, they hit 19-of-52 shots for 36.5 percent in dropping a seventh straight game. They were 9-of-25 from 3-point range and made 7-of-8 free throws. Chase Griffin led BSU with 14 points while Max Bjorklund, Logan Bader and Derek Thompson all had 11.

Breaking Down the Game --
USF's Austin Slater, who had five points and two rebounds, dropped in a three (17:46) to help USF pull into a 5-5 tie with BSU early in the game. Slater hit the jumper after an offensive board by Troy Houghton, who had opened the game with a basket. USF extended the run to 7-3 when Pal converted inside (16:31) and Green hit a jumper (15:14) which was followed by a jumper from Pal for an 11-8 lead (13:38).

USF ended a 2:25 minute scoring drought when Will LyBaek hit a jumper at the 12:03 mark for a 13-11 edge. Then, BSU took early control in the game by going on a 14-3 run. With that run, the Beavers grabbed a 25-16 lead with five minutes to play after a basket by Griffin Chase. But the Cougars responded with their own 13-2 run, which was started by a basket from Green at the 4:09 mark. After BSU scored, Green converted inside (3:13) plus the "and 1", a basket by Pal and a three plus a late lay-up from Trevon Adams, as USF scored 10 straight points for a 28-27 advantage at the halftime break.

In the opening half, USF hit 50 percent on 12-of-24 shooting from the floor and made 2-of-6 from three. USF had a 17-to-11 rebound edge at the half.

As the half opened, USF scored six straight for a 16-0 run after a three from Grinde for a 34-27 lead. At the 17:31 mark, Derek Thompson converted for BSU to end the run and pull BSU within 34-29. But the momentum was clearly on the side of USF. Adams hit his second three of the game at the 16:04 mark as USF took a 37-29 advantage. With 13:08 to play, Grinde knocked in his second three of the half as USF built a 47-38 lead.

After Grinde hit yet another three and Thompson made a pair of foul shots, USF had a 52-40 lead (9:55) over BSU midway through the second half. Later Thompson converted a three-point play and Grinde hit a jumper as USF extended their advantage to 59-43. Then, USF's pushed the lead to 19 at 62-43 with 5:52 to play on a three from Green. At that point, USF had the working margin needed as BSU could close only within 10 (64-54) late in the game.

-RECAPS COURTESY USF ATHLETICS, HIGHLIGHTS COURTESY LAKELAND PBS