Offense to go around
Carly Boag did her part in giving the Minot State University women’s basketball team a sizable lead.
Then, saddled to the bench with foul trouble, she sat back and watched her teammates extend it.
Boag’s 27 points and the Beavers’ overall balance carried MSU to an 84-66 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory over Minnesota Duluth on Friday at the MSU Dome.
The Beavers (12-3 overall, 8-3 NSIC) shot 61 percent from the field and assisted on 24 of their 37 baskets as they avenged a 70-68 loss on Dec. 14 in Duluth.
“You wanna see a team that plays together and doesn’t have selfish players,” MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said. “Sometimes I think we get in trouble because we’re too unselfish, but this team plays really well together and they do a nice job of finding each other and making a great pass to lead to a good score. It’s fun to coach and you don’t have much to do with it. It’s just great players making great plays.”
Boag scored 11 seconds into the contest and seemingly produced at that clip for the rest of the opening half. She scored 10 points in the game’s first 7:21 and 17 before the intermission.
As easy as her 13-for-17 shooting performance looked, Boag made her method for scoring sound even simpler.
“I was just posting up and finishing strong,” said Boag, who was limited to 23 minutes. “I was just trying to get out on fast breaks and get back-doors.”
But the Beavers were far from a one-player show. Senior point guard Alisha “Speedy” Jones led the efficient attack with seven assists and 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Christina Boag, Carly’s twin, posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and junior forward Katie Hardy had 12 points and seven boards.
“I look for my teammates before I look for my own shot and that helps,” Jones said. “It opens more things up for me when the defense thinks I’m gonna pass it, and then I look for my shot.”
Carly Boag picked up her fourth foul with 8:19 remaining and MSU ahead 63-52. Duluth (9-6, 6-5) cut the lead to nine with 6:37 left, but the Beavers promptly reeled off an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Christina Boag picked up the slack inside and Hardy scored four points during that spurt.
“You can put Chris or Carly in there and they’re both really hard to handle,” Green Gerding said. “They do a good job of sealing and finishing, and I thought Savana (Kingsbury) gave us good minutes. It just seemed like we got scoring out of different positions when Carly went out. … I just think we’re playing with good balance right now.”
In the first half, the Beavers got inside for easy buckets to counter the strong outside shooting of Duluth. The Bulldogs knocked down 6 of 12 3-point attempts before halftime, but MSU went on a 10-1 run late in the frame to take a 42-36 lead into the break.
Duluth junior guard Jessica Newman hit three of those first-half 3s and scored 13 of her team-high 17 points before halftime.
MSU limited Duluth senior post Hannah Rutten to 12 points and three rebounds, both below her team-leading averages of 15 points and 10.7 boards.
The Beavers host St. Cloud State (9-6, 5-6) at 4 p.m. today looking to win their fifth straight.
Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.