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DSU offensive woes too much to bear against Rocky Mountain

The Dickinson State women's basketball team came out firing in the second quarter against Rocky Mountain College (Mont.), producing points on five of its first six possessions.

Rocky Mountain College junior forward Markaela Francis shoots a turnaround in the lane against Dickinson State on Saturday, Nov. 24, from the Scott Gym. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)
Rocky Mountain College junior forward Markaela Francis shoots a turnaround in the lane against Dickinson State on Saturday, Nov. 24, from the Scott Gym. (Patrick Bernadeau/The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson State women's basketball team came out firing in the second quarter against Rocky Mountain College (Mont.), producing points on five of its first six possessions.

Trimming a double-figure deficit down to seven before halftime, the Blue Hawks put up 19 second-period points. As strong as the home team played for 10 minutes, Dickinson State could not get much else going, scoring a total of 26 points in the other quarters during a 65-45 loss to the Battlin' Bears on Saturday, Nov. 24, from the Scott Gym.

The Blue Hawks connected on only 33 percent of their shots from the field, including 4 of 18 from three-point range.

"I think the biggest thing that stands out to me is we've got to get better offensively. We've had a couple games in a row here where we aren't scoring like we should," Dickinson State head coach Liz Lewis said. "We have a lot of people that need to be putting up more points that aren't getting it done. ... When you get more shots and out-rebound a team, there's no reason to lose by 20 other than not putting the ball in the hole."

Dickinson State had eight more field goal attempts and held a 37-30 advantage in the rebounding department. However, Rocky Mountain (6-1) committed nine less fouls and were 13 of 17 from the free-throw line; that's compared to 3 of 6 shooting from the charity stripe for the Blue Hawks.

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Ironically, it was a foul shot made off of the glass by forward Kaleigh McClenahan that aided a Dickinson State surge. The freshman added a shot inside and a basket off an offensive rebound, pulling the home team within four, 18-14, early in the second quarter.

That stretch was part of solid overall game from McClenahan, who finished with 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and six rebounds.

"Definitely one of the best highlights from tonight was our freshman, Kaleigh McClenahan. ... I would say she was the one positive thing that came away from tonight," Lewis said.

The Blue Hawks (4-5) developed a better flow offensively in the second, mixing in aggressive drives and post touches with shots from the perimeter. In the waning seconds of the first half, senior guard Riley Helmick drilled a straight-away three-pointer, closing the Blue Hawks to 30-23 as the two teams entered the locker rooms.

"I think we were just working well together," McClenahan said of the team's second-period performance. "Once we play as a team, we really play well together and I think that was part of it."

The game would've been closer if it wasn't for Battlin' Bears forward Markaela Francis. The junior powerhouse led all scorers with nine points in the first half and continued her dominance in the second half.

Francis posted eight straight points in the third quarter as Rocky Mountain often looked for her inside. She headed to the bench with 4:58 remaining in the period, but not before the Battlin' Bears pushed their lead to 40-26.

"The first half, (Dickinson State) played quite a bit of zone and I felt that we settled, in the first half especially, for threes. We were 0-for-10 at half," Rocky Mountain head coach Wes Keller said. "Two of our points of emphasis was to take care of the basketball and get the ball inside. We did that in the second half and I think those were the big reasons why we were able to stretch our lead."

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The Blue Hawks couldn't cut into their deficit in Francis' absence, trailing 49-35 entering the fourth. Midway through the frame, McClenahan netted a turnaround shot inside, maintaining the 14-point margin at 55-41 before Rocky Mountain sealed the game with a 6-0 run. Shortly after, McClenahan collected her fifth foul while trying to defend Francis inside.

"She's a good player. She's experienced and definitely knows what she's doing," McClenahan said. "I, personally, did not play aggressive enough. ... It was kind of hard for me personally to get in front of her, but I don't want to make excuses because I know that it's something I should've done better."

Francis finished with 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field and going 4-for-4 from the line. She was also one rebound shy of a double-double, pulling down nine boards.

Shooting 64 percent from the field in the second half, the Battlin' Bears had three other women in double figures. Freshman guard Kloie Thatcher had 12 points and five assists. Senior guard Alecia Chamberlin and senior forward Marissa Van Atta each added 10 points.

Dickinson State senior forward Rojin Karahan had eight points and nine rebounds while junior guard Ashlie Larson contributed seven points and a pair of steals for a Blue Hawks team searching for answers as conference play nears.

"Even before our next game on Friday, we've got to get better offensively," Lewis said. "It's tough to win games scoring 45 points. A lot of our upperclassmen need to start contributing more offensively. We had our shot attempts, but we shot a horrible percentage. We've got to put to ball in the hole."

Rocky Mountain College 65, Dickinson State University 45

RMC 14 16 19 16

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DSU 4 19 12 10

RMC (6-1): Markaela Francis 20, Kloie Thatcher 12, Alecia Chamberlin 10, Marissa Van Atta 10, Alyssa Big Man 9, Antuanisha Wright 2, Olivia James 2.

DSU (4-5): Caleigh McClenahan 14, Rojin Karahan 8, Ashlie Larson 7, Riley Helmick 6, Brook Janz 5, Lacey Waid 5.

Halftime: RMC 30, DSU 23. Total fouls: RMC 12, DSU 21. Fouled out: DSU 2 (Waid, McClenahan) 3-point goals: RMC 2-14 (Thatcher 1-5, Big Man 1-3), DSU 4-18 (Helmick 2-5, Janz 1-3, Waid 1-5). Rebounds: RMC 30 (Francis 9), DSU 37 (Karahan 9). Assists: RMC 11 (Thatcher 5), DSU 8 (Janz 3). Steals: RMC 7 (Francis 2, Chamberlin 2, Van Atta 2), DSU 5 (Larson 2, Janz 2). Blocks: RMC 5 (Thatcher 2), DSU 1 (Janz 1). Turnovers: RMC 9, DSU 15.

Related Topics: DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY
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