Gabbie Bohl got things going in the lane. Then Macy Williams started hitting from long range.
That combination helped the University of Mary head into the Christmas break on a high note.
The Marauders posted a 70-45 victory over Minot State on Tuesday night at the McDowell Activity Center. The win snapped a four-game losing streak, gave U-Mary its first Northern Sun victory and avenged a 72-62 setback in Minot last month.
Minot State gained a spit in the NSIC doubleheader as the Beavers won the men’s game 77-65.
The Marauders got things going offensively early on, shooting 50 percent (13 for 26) from the field over the first 20 minutes and grabbing an early lead.
“(The difference was) just our energy,” Williams said. “We were getting the ball inside out, not settling for threes – working it inside, getting shots inside and also hitting threes when we needed to.”
Bohl, the 6-foot-2 sophomore post from Minot Ryan, had 10 of her 14 points in the first quarter, sparking U-Mary to an early 16-9 lead, and a nine-point first-quarter edge.
The Marauders were more efficient than in their first matchup in Minot.
“We had better shot selection and then when we got the open shot, we made it and up there we didn’t,” Marauders coach Rick Neumann said.
“Probably the biggest difference was we took better shots and we obviously made more three-pointers.”
Williams, a freshman from Sussex, Wis., drained 6 of 7 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points for U-Mary.
“I was feeling good in warmups. I’ve been working on my shot all week,” Williams said.
With the Beavers’ defense focused on taking away the inside, the Marauders had open looks on the perimeter. And they knocked them down.
U-Mary hit 11 of 22 (49 percent) from behind the arc. Along with Williams’ six 3s, Jordyn Jossart and Dani Williams each hit two and Cassie Askvig one.
“They doubled off of our point guards right away and we knew they were going to do that,” Neumann said. “Macy did the easy thing which is make shots. Even Christal Hearn, she made cuts and then extra passes, so I thought we just handled the double team a lot better and then actually shot them out of it.”
The Marauders built a 45-31 lead midway through the third quarter. After Minot State pulled within 10 (45-35), U-Mary reeled off a 12-2 run covering the end of the third and the start of the fourth to make it 59-37 with 7:16 remaining.
“Defensively, we were much better on the glass,” Neumann said. “Defensive rebounding and offensive shot selection were the two biggest differences.”
The Marauders made things tough the Minot State, holding them to 31 percent shooting for the game, and holding them scoreless over the final three minutes.
“We were playing a lot more tough, getting around the ball screens and talking and communicating, working as a team,” Williams said.
“Our bench was fantastic defensively – Kaylee Hinson gave us some steals, Isabel Schmelzer was fantastic defensively around the glass, and Hearn bothering the basketball,” Neumann said. “We kept the energy defensively the entire game and we fed off of that on the offensive end.”
Macy Williams finished with 20 and Bohl 14 to lead U-Mary (5-7, 1-5 NSIC). Askvig added eight, Isabel Schmelzer seven and Dani Williams and Jossart each finished with six.
Kristal Flowers led Minot State (4-6, 1-5 NSIC) with 14 and Holly Johnson finished with 13. Mariah Payne had nine on three first-half 3-pointers.
The win gives the Marauders something to build on going into the break.
“Everyone will have a merry Christmas now and hopefully this is just the start of better things to come for us after Christmas,” Neumann said.
MSU 77, U-Mary 65
It was another frustrating night for the Marauder men.
Century graduate Tyler Rudolph was one of four Beavers in double figures in a 77-65 victory over U-Mary, which lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell to 2-8 overall, 0-6 in the Northern Sun.
A veteran Minot State team improved to 11-1, 5-1 in the conference and swept the regular-season series with the Marauders.
“They’re very good, and Rudy’s been a problem in this league for a lot of years, and I’m just glad this is going to be the absolute last time we play each other,” U-Mary coach Joe Kittell said. “I gave him a big hug afterward and said, ‘Man, I’m glad we don’t have to play you any more.’ He’s a talented young man. We were able to hold him to 13, got him in some foul trouble.”
But the Beavers shot 52 percent (29 for 55) for the game, and sank 10 of 22 (45.5 percent) from 3-point range.
The Beavers took control with a 13-4 first-half run that built a 31-20 advantage over the hosts. Rudolph, Moore and Green each hit 3s during that spurt.
“Our Achilles heel right now is we’re giving up a lot of 3s,” Kittell said. “I feel like some are contested, some aren’t but people are getting in a rhythm against us and they’re able to finish. Have to continue working on closing out in our rotations.”
Nathaniel Moore led Minot State with 19, David Akibo had 17, Rudolph 13 and Brandon Green 10.
Keith Hunter led the Marauders with 18 and Matthew Kreklow added 15. U-Mary shot well – hitting 23 of 47 (48.9 percent) from the field but just 3-for-14 from 3-point range.
“There was a lot of growth tonight,” Kittell said. “I told the guys, I feel like we are better today than we were yesterday and I feel like we’re for sure better than we were a month ago. It’s just a matter of now continuing to grind in practice on getting better and getting ready to make a run in the second semester.
“Nobody thought we were going to win the league. We’re out there with a lot of new faces, two seniors, but this team is growing, we’re getting better, and we’re building that chip on our shoulder for next semester and for beyond. There’s a lot of guys here that are going to remember this feeling, this month and we have a lot of years left with these guys and they’re not going to feel like this all the time, that’s for sure.”
The Marauders return to NSIC action at home Dec. 30-31, hosting Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday, Dec. 30 and St. Cloud State on New Year’s Eve.