The St. Cloud State Huskies women’s basketball team welcomed the University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles, and the Bemidji State Beavers into Halenbeck Hall this past Friday and Saturday.
The Huskies came into the game against the Golden Eagles with an overall record of 3-2 and a 1-0 NSIC conference record. The Golden Eagles, on the other hand, were looking to pick up their first win of the season, as they came in with a record of 0-4 and were 0-0 in the NSIC.
The Huskies got out to an early lead behind senior Betsy MacDonald’s efforts, as she scored 7 points in the first quarter. The Huskies led 25-15 heading into the second quarter.
MacDonald led all Huskies with 15 points for the game.
“It’s all my teammates, really. Good passes to me, and I was lucky enough to knock them down I guess,” said MacDonald.
Lori Fish, St. Cloud State Women’s Basketball Coach, spoke about MacDonald’s efforts as well.
“She’s just consistent for us. She’s a great scorer. She just is so poised out there right now, playing with a lot of confidence.”
The second quarter belonged to the Golden Eagles, as they outscored the Huskies 19 to 11 to cut the deficit to 36-34 heading into halftime. Leading the charge for the Golden Eagles in the second quarter was Alison Hughes, as she had 8 points in the quarter including 6 points from behind the arc.
Hughes was second on the Golden Eagles in scoring with 15 points for the game.
In the third quarter things started to swing back in favor of the Huskies, as they outscored the Golden Eagles 26 to 14 behind 12 points from Amanda Christianson who was 2 for 2 from behind the arc in the quarter. One of her three pointers was assisted by Chelsea Nooker, who drove, went behind the back, and dished the ball to a wide-open Christianson at the top of the key.
In the fourth quarter the Golden Eagles outscored the Huskies 14 to 13, but it was too big of a hole to climb out of for the Golden Eagles, as the Huskies won the game 75-62. The win improved the Huskies’ overall record to 4-2 and NSIC conference record to 2-0. For the Golden Eagles, the loss kept them winless on the year, and dropped them to 0-1 in the NSIC.
“We got up and pressured more … we did a much better job keeping them off the boards. Those are the two big things we talked about at half,” said Fish.
The Huskies were back at it Saturday, and welcomed the Bemidji State Beavers into Halenbeck Hall in what turned out to be an instant classic. The Beavers came into the game with an overall record of 3-2 and 0-1 NSIC conference record.
The tone was set early in the game in the first quarter, as St. Cloud State’s Betsy MacDonald picked up an early foul on a block attempt. The Beavers got out to an early 10-3 lead in the quarter behind the three-point shooting from Tatum Sheley and Erica Gartner who each scored 5 points in the quarter. Andrea Thomas set the tone for the Huskies, as she drove and found her teammates for easy buckets. She also forced a turnover off of a hustle play to prevent a layup for the Beavers. Bemidji State led 20-19 after a fast paced first quarter.
Early in the second quarter the Huskies’ Nooker banked in a three pointer off the glass from the right wing for 3 of her 9 points in the quarter. Sheley for the Beavers matched Nooker’s efforts, as she had 9 points herself. A big play late in the quarter came when Christianson got a steal, passed it up to Thomas, who missed the shot, but Nooker cleaned up the miss putting it back for two points. The Huskies led 44-39 heading into halftime.
Nooker had 28 points in the game behind 73 percent shooting while Sheley had 26 points for the Beavers.
“Our offense was just clicking. It’s tough to stop us when we have so many scorers on our team,” said Nooker.
The story for the Huskies was the play of senior Betsy MacDonald who had 42 points, which led all scorers in the game.
Nooker and MacDonald seemed to be in sync all game long, as they found each other for easy layups.
“I’m always looking for Betsy. We’ve been together for four years now. We’ve played for four years together. We know our tendencies,” said Nooker.
The third quarter was the Betsy MacDonald show for the Huskies as she scored 11 points. The Huskies did a good job at locking down defensively from the three-point line as well, holding the Beavers to 1 of 6 from behind the arc. The physical presence was also felt, as the Huskies’ Brianna Johnson was battling for a rebound with the Beavers’ Sierra Senske, who hit the floor, and was hurt on the play. Johnson and the Beavers’ Sydney Arrington also got tied up and both hit the floor. Huskies led 66-61 heading into the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did a better job in the second half of getting up and pressuring people,” said Fish.
In the fourth quarter MacDonald picked up right where she left off as she opened up the quarter for the Huskies hitting a three from the right corner off of an assist from Christianson. Nooker also made some huge plays away from the ball, as she drew a charge on the Beavers’ Hanna Zerr. It was tight down the stretch and the game would go to overtime tied at 88 after a last second circus shot from MacDonald was no good.
The Beavers led for most of the overtime period, and it looked like they were going to pick up an impressive road win until the Huskies’ Christianson dove on the floor for a loose ball to tie it up. With the possession arrow favoring the Huskies, they got the ball with a chance to force double overtime. Andrea Thomas took full advantage, as she drove, made a layup, and got fouled to set up the game tying free throw. She made the free throw, sending the game into the decisive double overtime period tied at 95.
In double overtime both teams were trying to muster up what little energy they had left. MacDonald did her part for the Huskies finding a streaking Nooker on a full court pass for a left-handed layup. Nooker then came right back and hit a three from the top of the key to put the Huskies up 102-97. It was tight down the stretch, but MacDonald showed her senior leadership, as she drove and made a layup, and then hit two free throws to ice the game for the Huskies, as they prevailed 111-107. The win improved the Huskies’ record to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the NSIC while the Beavers dropped to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the NSIC.
“I think this is the most exhausting game I’ve ever played in to be honest. I’m just happy we got the win … Kudos to our team for pulling it out,” said Nooker.
Fish shared some of her thoughts on the win as well.
“It’s great to win on Saturday because it makes the rest of the week more enjoyable. Our team was resilient. They figured out a way to win.”
The Huskies will next head to South Dakota to take on the University of Sioux Falls Cougars. The Cougars are coming into the game with an overall record of 6-1 and a 2-1 record in the NSIC. Tipoff is set for Friday at 6 p.m.