BEMIDJI, MN -- The Sioux Falls women's basketball team was particularly disruptive to the Bemidji State offense on Saturday afternoon. And when it came down to deciding the game in overtime, the Cougars allowed nothing.
Laura Johnson tied a season-high with 24 points and Alyssa Rushton delivered a career-high 23-point effort as USF erased a nine-point second half deficit to outlast the Beavers 82-70, at BSU Gymnasium in Bemidji, Minn.
Johnson added 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.
It was the second overtime game of the season for the Cougars (11-9) and allowed USF to even its NSIC record at 8-8. It is also USF’s first overtime victory since Dec. 29 2009, when they edged Jamestown College 61-60.
Bemidji State dropped to 9-11 overall and 5-11 in the NSIC loop.
After a back-and-forth battle for the first 15 minutes of the contest, Bemidji State used a deep trey from Morgan Lee to erase a one-point deficit and go up, 29-27, with 4:31 left to play in the first half. The Beavers followed with a 9-2 spurt before a three-pointer by Jaicee Ulmer halted the BSU run and sent the teams into the intermission with the Beavers holding a 38-32 advantage.
After the break, Beaver Lanae Rash sandwiched a pair of paint buckets around two Amber Paden free throws to give BSU its largest lead of the game at 53-44 with less than 12 minutes remaining. USF turned up the defensive pressure to spark a 15-5 run and take the lead at 59-58 after a jumper by Mikenna Greathouse.
The teams traded baskets the rest of the way and a runner by Ulmer in the lane gave USF a 70-68 lead with 2:21 remaining. Bemidji State then tied it on a putback by Kate Warmack with 1:58 left. A Johnson steal with 21 seconds on the clock gave the Cougars the a chance to steal the win in regulation, but Chrissy Strassburg’s shot fell short at the buzzer.
The Cougars outscored the Beavers 12-0 in the overtime period to earn the 82-70 victory. With the score tied at 70-70 at the 3:08 minute mark of OT, an Ulmer three-ball put USF ahead for good. The Cougars converted three BSU turnovers into five points in the extra session.
USF shot 43.1 percent (28-for-65) from the floor. The Cougars drained 12 of 24 three-point attempts and went 14-for-22 from the stripe.
Laura Johnson finished with a game-high 24 points on 7-for-14 shooting, including 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. Rushton went 9-for-18 from the floor for a career-best 23 points.
USF battled for nine second-chance points in the game but its bench was outscored by the BSU reserves, 30-24. Ulmer led USF’s second unit with 10 points. Kelli Hoff had five points.
USF will host Minot State and the University of Mary next weekend.
-Courtesy USF Athletics