One order of business remained for the University of Mary women’s basketball team.
Having finished off a 40-point victory in their home opener, posting their second straight win, this one against a former conference rival in Dickinson State, the Marauders gathered on the court to serenade coach Rick Neumann with a round of ‘Happy Birthday.’
The Marauders started the day with some hot shooting and never really slowed down in posting an 87-47 victory over the Blue Hawks on Saturday at the McDowell Activity Center.
Gabbie Bohl played a big part in making the occasion a joyous one for Neumann and the Marauders. The sophomore from Minot Ryan posted a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds – both game-high totals.
Executing offensively was a big key.
“Just moving the ball around and taking good shots instead of bad shots and not forcing things,” Bohl said. “In practice, we’ve been working hard on just moving the ball around and taking better shots instead of ones that we’re just kind of forcing. And defensively I thought we played a good game all around. We knew the scouting report and what we needed to do.”
U-Mary shot 64.7 percent from the field in the first quarter (11 for 17) and 57.6 percent (19 for 33) in the first half, piling up 51 points over the first 20 minutes and taking command early.
“I was really pleased with the way we shared the basketball,” Neumann said. “The ball didn’t stick in anyone’s hands. We moved it, we shot it when it was appropriate, we drove it when it was appropriate, but we still had good balance where we could throw it into the post, too. We had pace and player and basketball movement on the offensive end.”
The Blue Hawks were hitting at a good clip early, as well. DSU shot 57.1 percent in the first quarter (8 for 14), and the game was tied at 16-16 with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
But U-Mary reeled off 11 straight points – six from Bohl and five from Cassie Askvig, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds – to take a 27-16 lead before Isidora Tasovic banked in a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull Dickinson State within 27-19 going into the second quarter.
U-Mary opened the second with another 11-0 burst, getting a basket from Bohl, a 3-pointer by Dani Williams, a three-point play from Bohl and a 3-pointer from Askvig to open up a 38-19 lead.
In around six minutes, the Marauders had turned a tie game into a 19-point advantage.
U-Mary tweaked the defense a bit and made things tough on the Blue Hawks.
“We made one quick adjustment on a certain action that we were guarding and that kind of took away some of their easier looks, but we just buckled down,” Neumann said.
“Just kicking it up and doing what we’ve been doing in practice,” Bohl said. “Work hard, continue to make the big plays, make the hustle plays and work as hard as we can.”
The Marauders finished the game shooting 51.9 percent (27 for 52) from the field, and held DSU to 40.5 (15 for 37).
Another point of emphasis for the Marauders – rebounding – was a big factor. U-Mary outrebounded DSU 49-25.
“We really worked on rebounding this week because we’ve been struggling with that. I think that hurt us down the stretch the couple games we lost,” Bohl said.
“We have some indicators we look for percentage-wise, rather than just looking at raw numbers because the pace of the game can throw you off just looking at the box score,” Neumann said. “Our goal is always to get 70-plus percent of misses on the defensive end and 30-plus on offense, and today we hit that.
“I thought we probably had a game get away from us last weekend by not being a very good rebounding team. And we know that in our league, we play a lot of big, physical teams and if we’re going to be able to compete, we have to be more physical around the rim and physical on our blockouts. So to carry that over into tonight’s game was a good sign.”
The Marauders built a 51-29 halftime lead and led by as many as 42 points in the second half.
Senior guard Dani Williams hit 6 of 9 3-point attempts, finishing with 20 points for the Marauders (2-2). Ten different players scored in the contest, and 12 different players grabbed at least one rebound.
“As a team, I thought we played great today and it’s fun to get that one at home,” Bohl said.
Riley Helmick led Dickinson State (3-6) with 11 points, hitting 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
The Marauders hope to build on the win as they get set for their Northern Sun opener next week.
“We had a great crowd today,” Neumann said. “That’s one of our best opening day crowds we’ve ever had as far as just activity and energy. Four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, the crowd was fantastic – that was great to see, and hopefully we gave them a reason to come back and watch us again on Tuesday.”
The Marauders host Presentation College on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in their final tuneup for the NSIC opener on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Minot State.