The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 27, 2013

Davis, Minnesota State women oust Bemidji State

MANKATO — For the last couple of weeks, Aubrey Davis had picked up her performance and intensity … in practice.

Minnesota State coach Emilee Thiesse said that’s carried over to the games, and it’s become contagious.

“She’s such a fighter and competitor,” Thiesse said. “She’s really picked up her intensity, and that’s carried over to the whole team.”

Davis had 18 points as Minnesota State defeated Bemidji State 94-77 in the first round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament Wednesday at Bresnan Arena. Davis also had six rebounds, five assists and three steals, sparking the Mavericks, especially in the first half, to their 12th straight victory.

“As the point guard, I’m the leader on the court,” Davis said. “The other players feed off my energy.”

Davis was especially important in the first half as she made 5 of 5 shots, including three 3-pointers, and both free throws for 15 points, helping her team take a 42-34 lead.

“Every game is a big game now,” Davis said. “We can’t play poorly. We have to be ready to go every game.”

In the second half, the other Mavericks got more involved as Bemidji State continued to try to run with Minnesota State.

“That’s the way we practice, and that’s the way we want to play,” Thiesse said. “They are big in the post, but we were able to capitalize with our speed.”

Minnesota State opened the second half with an 11-3 run and led by double digits the rest of the way. Ali Wilkinson ended up with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven steals, and Karlee Gengenbacher and Jamiela Hudnell each scored 16 points. Steffaney Thomas added 12 points as the Mavericks shot 51.5 percent from the field and outscored the Beavers by 10 at the free-throw line.

“We have a lot of combinations,” Davis said. “We have posts that can score, and we have guards that can shoot or penetrate and get the ball to the open person.”

The Mavericks (23-4) will host Minnesota State-Moorhead at 4 p.m. Saturday in the tournament quarterfinals. The Dragons defeated Sioux Falls 62-50 Wednesday.

“I look at the stat sheet and still feel like we can get better,” Thiesse said. “When we had a seven-game winning streak, we could have been happy. When we had a 10-game streak, we could have been happy with that. There’s still room for improvement. I don’t think this team has peaked.”

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