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Blue Hawks top Winnipeg, win 5 straight going into winter break

Press photo by Meaghan MacDonald Dickinson State Rachael McDonough, left, looks to pass the ball off to a teammate in Sunday’s game against the University of Winnipeg at Scott Gymnasium.

Humble or be humbled.

Dickinson State women’s basketball head coach Mark Graupe has the saying hanging in his home to remind himself and his team of the tough nature of basketball.

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The Blue Hawks kept it in the back of their minds as they defeated the University of Winnipeg (Manitoba) 70-64 on Sunday at Scott Gymnasium.

“If you’re not humble, even-keel, this is a nasty sport and a cruel sport and will humble you in a hurry,” Graupe said. “I told them I’m going to be tough on you and I’m going to be demanding. I’m going to keep pushing your buttons and keep pushing you to get better.”

But there’s no letting up in sight, as the Blue Hawks (10-3) enter winter break on a five-game win streak.

In the first half, both teams committed 14 turnovers and shot 33 percent — DSU made 9 of 27 shots while Winnipeg went 13 for 40. DSU captured the lead three times, but didn’t hold onto a lead for more than three points until the end.

With 3 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first half and Winnipeg (11-10) leading 29-28, freshman forward Hannah Beede made two free throws and junior forward Ashley Kennedy hit a jump shot to give DSU a three-point lead.

However, the Wesmen outscored DSU 9-3 in the final minutes to take a 38-35 lead into halftime.

Winnipeg’s strength was rebounding and particularly shined on the offensive end. The Wesmen finished with 25 offensive rebounds.

“I’ve never had my team, in my lifetime, give up 25. It’s an unheard of total,” Graupe said.

DSU freshman guard Rachel McDonough, who finished with 10 points and led her team with seven rebounds.

“I didn’t think we started off too fresh,” McDonough said. “Defensively, obviously we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds in the first half. But I think once we got used to their press, their full-court press and we didn’t rush ourselves as much as we did in the first half, we actually progressed.”

DSU turned up its defensive performance in the second half and held Winnipeg to just 10 points in the first 11 minutes.

With 2:43 left, Winnipeg’s Stephanie Kleysen hit a 3-pointer to cut DSU’s lead to 65-64.

Graupe said he needed the Blue Hawks to pass the ball around more to be effective and once they did, they pulled away and score the final five points to win the game.

“We finally just decided we needed to take our time, started talking and playing our defense, and we were determined to come off for this break with three wins and in the locker room it just kind of clicked,” Kennedy, who ended with 11 points and five rebounds, said. “We needed to get it together, we let them have way too many offensive boards in the first half. It all kind of changed when we went into the locker room of half time.”

Sophomore guard TaRicka Linzy, who was named Frontier Conference player of the week on Monday, scored a team-high 21 points and added three assists. She went 4 for 9 from 3-point range and 9 of 10 in free throws.

The Blue Hawks travel to Winnipeg for rounds two and three against the Wesmen Dec. 28 and 29. While the team relaxes without any basketball, Graupe is already using his free time recruiting and getting his plan of attack together to keep his team’s winning attitude and performances strong.

“We got to play them two more times back to back days, but we’ll make some adjustments and that’s the next thing I’m going to do,” Graupe said. “I already have notes going through my head of what we have to do different.”

WINNIPEG (11-10): Stephanie Kleysen 5-15 4-5 16, Megan Noonan 7-27 0-0 18, Kerri Kuzbyt 1-5 4-4 6, Alyssa Grant 3-8 1-1 9, Danielle Baril 1-4 0-0 2, Kelsey Ngo 0-3 2-2 2, Tia Ruddock 1-2 0-0 2, Taylor Thorkelsson 2-3 0-1 4, Skylar Boulanger 2-7 1-2 5. Totals: 22-74 12-15 64.

DICKINSON STATE (10-3): Ashley Kennedy 4-5 3-4 11, Jess Bygate 2-6 2-2 6, Dawne Degel 1-3 0-0 2, Mariah Duran 2-11 2-2 8, TaRicka Linzy 4-11 9-10 21, Alyssa Hildebrand 1-3 0-0 3, Ja’Lisa Gatlin 2-7 0-0 4, Rachael McDonough 2-4 6-7 10, Hannah Beede 1-4 2-2 5, Porsha Wadsworth 0-1 0-0 0, Jalyn Klauzer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 19-56 24-29 70.

Halftime: 38-35. Total fouls: Winnipeg 25, DSU 18. 3-point goals: Winnipeg 8-32 (Kleysen 2-8, Noonan 4-16, Kuzbyt 0-2, Grant 2-5, Ruddock 0-1), DSU 8-25 (Degel 0-2, Duran 2-7, Linzy 4-9, Hildebrand 1-2, Gatlin 0-1, McDonough 0-2, Beede 1-2). Rebounds: Winnipeg 52 (Kleysen 11), DSU 42 (McDonough 7). Assists: Winnipeg 11 (Kuzbyt 5), DSU 15 (Duran 5). Steals: Winnipeg 23 (Kleysen, Noonan 3), DSU 22 (Kennedy 3). Blocks: Winnipeg 2 (Grant, Boulanger 1), DSU 0. Turnovers: Winnipeg 26 (Kleysen, Noonan 7), DSU 27 (Bygate 7).

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.