After a gut-wrenching loss on Friday night to UMary, Mike Roysland said that he believed if his team could just win one game, it could win two. And then more.
They took care of the first part Saturday.
Mary Burke scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds, Mattea Vetsch added 18 and four 3-pointers and Minnesota Crookston women's basketball squeaked past Minot State, 78-76, on Saturday afternoon at Lysaker Gymnasium, snapping an eight-game losing streak.
The Golden Eagles improved to 3-15 overall and 2-12 in NSIC play, while the Beavers fell to 4-14 and 1-13.
Abby Guidinger (Jr., G/F) scored 13 points for UMC, while Emma Carpenter (Fr., F) knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 11 points. Julia Peplinski (So., F/C) added seven points and eight rebounds.
Overall, the Golden Eagles shot 41 percent from the floor and 34 percent from 3-point range, but boosted those figures to 54 and 67 percent in the final quarter.
"We were able to make some shots down the stretch," said UMC head coach Mike Roysland. "We didn't make enough of those earlier in the game but at the end of the day it was a great win for us."
After Minnesota Crookston led for almost the entire game against the Marauders on Friday, giving away the win due to turnovers down the stretch, it seemed to immediately put that result behind it.
The Golden Eagles surged to a 17-6 lead six minutes into the first quarter, forcing six Minot State turnovers.
"I'm just really pleased that today we were able to come out with some energy and some resilience and say, 'Okay, today's a brand new day, let's start all over,' " Roysland said.
However, the Beavers fought back into the game, taking the lead late in the second quarter before UMC grabbed it back, 38-36 at halftime. From there, Saturday seemed to be almost a repeat of Friday, as the Golden Eagles nursed a two-possession lead throughout much of the second half.
Mariah Payne shouldered the load for Minot State throughout the game. The high-scoring guard — who finished with 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting — gave the Beavers their first lead in the fourth quarter, and nailed a huge 3-pointer for a 72-69 lead with under three minutes to play.
At that point, Roysland subbed Burke, who had been sitting for the last three minutes, back in.
"We had the chance to give her a break," Roysland said. "She was fresh, and I thought we could take advantage of the person who was defending her as well."
Burke took control of the game without hesitation. She hit two free throws on her first possession, nailed a turnaround jumper in the lane to push the Golden Eagles ahead, and hit a three from the corner to bring the lead to 76-73 with ninety seconds to go.
Payne was fouled on a 3-pointer with eight seconds left, hitting all three foul shots to bring the Beavers within one, and Peplinski hit one of two after an intentional foul. Minot State grabbed the rebound, and had one final shot to win the game, but Bethany Theodore's heave went short.
Fittingly, it landed right in the hands of Burke.
"I just wanted to win," she said. "We really needed it."
UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles are at home to take on Southwest Minnesota State this Friday, Jan 31 at 5:30 p.m. The Mustangs are 10-9 overall and 5-9 in conference play.
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