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Blue Hawk bench fuels win over Viterbo

Head coach Mark Graupe decided he had seen enough. At home against Viterbo (2-22, 1-9), his starters begin the second half by relinquishing a 5-0 run for a 32-32 tie, so with seven minutes to go into the third, he called for an overhaul. Bench pl...

Dickinson State's Rachael McDonough drives to the basket Friday night against Viterbo at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State's Rachael McDonough drives to the basket Friday night against Viterbo at Scott Gymnasium. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

Head coach Mark Graupe decided he had seen enough.

At home against Viterbo (2-22, 1-9), his starters begin the second half by relinquishing a 5-0 run for a 32-32 tie, so with seven minutes to go into the third, he called for an overhaul.

Bench players Kate Golding, Rachael McDonough, Samantha Morgan, Sydney Bentz and Paitton Herbst all checked in, and the move for Graupe paid immediate dividends.

The bench brigade played the rest of the quarter, and had reeled off a 16-3 run entering the fourth.

That spurt fueled a 60-48 victory, the Blue Hawks' (17-5, 10-1) 10th win in a row. But for Graupe, it was the second game in a row he felt his starters' effort left much to be desired. The reserves, though, made him look like a smart man.

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"What did the group of five come in and do? They built, what? A double-digit lead. They played hard and played with passion defensively," Graupe said. "We talked about playing hard and with passion. (The starters) just didn't do it. They came out and they were five feet off the ball. I'm sick of watching that."

"We've won 10 in a row, but this is the worst we've looked all year. It started at Presentation (College) and it's just continued."

That decisive run by the second unit started with a three-pointer from sixth-man Paitton Herbst, and included two backdoor connections between McDonough and Morgan. Morgan finished with seven in the quarter,and McDonough finished with seven points and four assists in 19 minutes of play.

The goal, said the senior, was just to get a spark going.

"I just said to the girls, 'We have to pick it on defense.' We knew the offense would come, the main thing was just forcing pressure," McDonough said. "It's no knock on the starters, they usually play 30-plus minutes a game, it was just nice to see we could come on the floor and give them a rest, build on a lead a little."

The starters came back on the floor for the fourth quarter, and performed a little more up to Graupe's par. Lorna Shepherd finished with a game-high 13 for the Blue Hawks; MacKayla Feeney scored 11 and Megan Klein grabbed 14 rebounds, close to half of what the V-Hawks had as a team.

"If you noticed the way they came out in the fourth quarter, they finally came out with a little passion," Graupe said. "That was because they saw the five that came in and relieved them."

Ahead 56-41, the coach sent back in his five off the bench, a reward for their hard work.

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Viterbo's Heidi Huebner hit two quick three-pointers to pull within nine with two minutes left, but that's the closest the V Hawks would get in the final 10 minutes.

"These teams aren't going to roll over for you, it was touch and go for a little bit. But it's always nice when you can win at home and end the game on the floor," McDonough said. "That's what we want at the end of day."

Dickinson State 60, Viterbo 48

DSU: Lorna Shepherd 13, MacKayla Feeney 11, Ashley Bentz-Laub 8, Samantha Morgan 7, Rachael McDonough 7, Sydney Bentz 5, Megan Klein 3, Taylor Henningsgard 2, Kate Golding 1. Totals: 18-56.

VU: Alyssa Nilssen 9, Arissa Geiser 9, Kassi Hofschild 8, Riley Budde 8, Heidi Huebner 6, Miranda Nelson 3, Bailey Jones 2. Totals: 19-59.

Halftime: 32-27. Total fouls: VU 17, DSU 13. 3-point goals: VU 5-20 (Hofschild 2-3, Huebner 2-7, Geiser 1-3), DSU 6-17 (Shepherd 1-3, Feeney 2-5, Herbst 1-3, McDonough 1-1, Bentz 1-2). Rebounds: VU 34 (Geiser 6), DSU 48 (Klein 14). Assists: VU 10 (Hofschild 3), DSU 15 (Henningsgard 7). Steals: VU 7 (Nilssen 4), DSU 10 (Bentz-Laub 3). Blocks: VU 4 (Mariah Weddle 2), DSU 7 (Golding 3). Turnovers: VU 13, DSU 14.

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