NEWMAN RENDERS BEAVERS HELPLESS IN 74-54 ROUT TO RING IN 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Usually there are three usual suspects that do the majority of the scoring for the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s basketball team.
Then, there are nights like this one where everyone took a backseat to one outstanding player.
Katrina Newman gashed the Bemidji State (5-7, 3-4 NSIC) defense en route to a career-high 30 points in a 74-54 UMD (8-3, 5-2 NSIC) victory – their first of 2012.
“They didn’t have an answer for our post players tonight because they were playing their undersized guards in the paint,” said head coach Annette Wiles. “Katrina knew she had the mismatch and had a great night.”
It was evident in the opening minute of the first half that both squads had some rust to shake off thanks to the lengthy holiday break. Through the first four minutes, the teams combined for ten turnovers before ball security and refined play reigned for the rest of the half.
“Sometimes our offense is going to look like it’s struggling because we’re working so hard on the defensive end of the floor,” said Wiles.
An early spurt from the Beavers saw them hold the Bulldogs at bay until Shelly Stemper fired a pinpoint pass to Maria Almquist who converted on the bucket in the paint to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.
Trading baskets over the next pair of possessions, Emma Van Winkle banked home an easy layup to wrest the lead from the Beavers. On the ensuing Bemidji possession, Alyssa Kerkhoff put her speed on display, swindling an errant Bemidji pass before being hacked on her drive to the basket. The freshman capitalized on her two attempts from the charity stripe and the Bulldogs never looked back from there as they allowed the Beavers few easy looks through the rest of the first half.
An acrobatic layup followed by a free throw from Courtney Doucette highlighted the momentum-stealing stretch for the Bulldogs who kept pouring it on through the first stanza.
Jessica Newman powered her way through a pair of Bemidji defenders to give UMD a 27-17 edge with five minutes to go in the half. While the offense was clearly clicking for the Bulldogs, their defensive game was working wonders as well as they held the Beavers without a point for a stretch of nearly four minutes in the opening frame.
Whittling the Bulldogs’ lead to just nine before the half was Shannon Thompson who rattled home a fast break runner as the horn sounded.
UMD was put to the test early on in the deciding half as the Beavers tallied the first four points to pull to within five before Katrina Newman put a stop to the comeback attempt. The sophomore slashed through the interior defense of Bemidji State before recording a pair of fast-break baskets that forced the Beavers to call time.
From there, Newman stole the show for the remainder of the game as she scored at will against the porous Bemidji State interior defense. Again, the UMD defense held strong holding the Beavers scoreless for a span of over three minutes .
Neutralize, thanks to the stingy UMD defense, was leading Bemidji State scorer Kate Warmack. The talented post player had come into the game averaging 13.5 points per game but was held to just six on one-of-four shooting.
“It was an exciting defensive accomplishment for us today to hold them to 27 in each half because in the games they’ve won they have absolutely shot the lights out,” said Wiles. “Bemidji also came in ranked eighth in the country in terms of free-throw shooting and we did a good job of limiting their trips to the line.”
Holding court on the boards, eight Bulldogs snatched 45 rebounds while limiting the Beavers to just 26. Bemidji State finished with a shooting percentage of 32.1 – their fourth lowest mark of the season.
Stemper was the only other player in double figures as she netted 13.
Morgan Lee led the way for the Beavers with 15 points.
UMD has little time to rest, as they embark on their longest – and arguably their toughest - NSIC road assignment of the season. The Bulldogs travel to Wayne, Neb., to take on the No. 9 Wayne State Wildcats. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 7).
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