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Golden Eagles can't hang on as Concordia-St. Paul ekes out 54-53 win

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Bren Fox in a game against Southwest Minnesota State on Jan. 31, 2020. Fox scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Minnesota Crookston's 54-53 loss at Concordia-St. Paul Sunday.

Minnesota Crookston women's basketball wasted no time making the statement that Sunday would be different.

The Golden Eagles scored the first seven points against Concordia-St. Paul and led for almost the entire game, a far cry from Saturday's 95-32 defeat to the Golden Bears. With under a minute left, UMC led by one.

But CSP (2-0) made enough key plays down the stretch to eke out a 54-53 win over Minnesota Crookston Sunday afternoon at the Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul, dooming the Golden Eagles (0-2) to a season-opening sweep.

After the Golden Bears took the lead at 11-10, UMC ended the first quarter on an 8-2 run. It held CSP scoreless over the final five minutes of the first half and went into halftime leading 30-24.

The Golden Eagles built their lead by feeding the post early and often. Junior center Bren Fox scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half.

UMC took its largest lead of the game, 35-26, on a Mary Burke layup midway through the third quarter. But Concordia-St. Paul cut the lead to 39-37 at the end of the third, and tied it early in the fourth. From there, the game was back-and-forth.

Kylie Post gave the Golden Eagles a boost they desperately needed. The junior guard scored 10 of her 11 points in the final quarter, including a slashing layup with 49 seconds left that put UMC back on top, 53-52, after the Golden Bears had taken their first lead on a Sarah Kuma free throw.

But Lindsey Becher gave CSP the lead right back on a layup with 44 seconds to play. Post turned the ball over and missed a layup on consecutive possessions, but the Golden Bears' Meghan DuBois missed two free throws with 2.5 seconds left to give UMC one last chance.

Minnesota Crookston drew up a play for forward Mary Burke, but the redshirt sophomore's potential game-winning 3-point try went long as time expired.

The Golden Eagles shot just 26.6 percent from the field, while the Golden Bears shot 41.5 percent. UMC was able to stay in the game, though, behind a strong performance from the free-throw line (16-of-21) and by winning the offensive rebounding and turnover battles. It grabbed 16 offensive rebounds to CSP's seven, and forced 23 turnovers to CSP's 18.

Fox finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for her third career double-double. Post had eight rebounds to go along with her 11 points, and freshman guard Jes Mertens chipped in with seven points and four steals. 

Becher scored 13 points and Riley Wheatcraft added 12 for the Golden Bears. Becher also added seven rebounds and blocked seven shots.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will take on Minnesota State Moorhead on Jan. 8-9 in Moorhead. MSUM is 1-1 after splitting its series at Augustana this weekend.

The Dragons, who were picked to finish third in the NSIC North this season, swept UMC last season with two blowout wins.

BOX SCORE

Minnesota Crookston 18-12-9-14—53

Concordia-St. Paul 13-11-13-17—54

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON STATS

  • Points: Bren Fox 18, Kylie Post 11, Jes Mertens 7
  • Rebounds: Bren Fox 14, Kylie Post 8, Jes Mertens 5
  • Assists: Emma Carpenter 5

CONCORDIA-ST. PAUL STATS

  • Points: Lindsey Becher 13, Riley Wheatcraft 12
  • Rebounds: Lindsey Becher 7, Sydney Zgutowicz 7
  • Assists: Meghan DuBois 3

The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at jshames@crookstontimes.com.

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