Beavers’ comeback falls a point short

For a broken play in a one-point game, the Minot State University women’s basketball team couldn’t have asked for a better look.

MSU senior Francesca DeAngelis drove, attracted the attention of the Minnesota State-Mankato defense and found sophomore guard Morgan Klose alone in the left corner with four seconds left. Klose, who scored a game-high 23 points and had previously missed just one shot, let fly with the game in the balance.

Klose said her shot was tipped slightly by a Mankato defender, but whatever the case, the attempt bounced harmlessly off the rim and the Mavericks escaped the MSU Dome with an 83-82 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win Saturday.

It was a dramatic ending to a game that looked like a potential blowout early in the second half.

The Mavericks (16-4 overall, 12-4 NSIC) went on a 17-2 run out of the locker room to push their lead to 59-43 with 13 minutes, 45 seconds remaining. But MSU responded with its own 11-2 spurt behind three buckets from Klose and two from DeAngelis.

“We just played as a team,” Klose said. “Usually when we start self-destructing, it just goes down and we don’t ever get back. But we fought together as a team and kept pushing at the lead.”

The Beavers (9-11, 5-11) never led in the second half, but remained close after that run and had a chance to win on Klose’s final attempt.

“I’m getting a little tired of moral victories, but you’ve gotta give it to us,” MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said. “They could’ve buried us there. We were falling apart at the seams; we turned it over, took bad shots and then didn’t defend on the other end.”

MSU shot 29-of-48 (60 percent) from the floor, but the Mavericks kept the Beavers at bay with 13 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Aubrey Davis led Mankato with 20 points and connected on 4-of-7 from deep.

“We were lucky the 3-point ball was falling for us or we could’ve lost that game very handily,” first-year Mankato coach Emilee Thiesse said.

Ali Wilkinson scored 14 for Mankato and Karlee Gengenbacher and Staffaney Thomas added 11 and 10, respectively.

MSU junior Carly Boag, who passed the career 1,000-point mark against Concordia-St. Paul on Friday, finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. DeAngelis chipped in 12 and Sacarra Molina had 10, all in the first half.

The Beavers travel to Sioux Falls and Southwest Minnesota State this weekend.