Morgan Klose shook off a bum ankle and a previously poor shooting night to deliver the game-winning basket for the Minot State University women's basketball team.
Klose, who wasn't sure if she'd play until pregame warmups, drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing with 22 seconds left to lift MSU over Jamestown 58-55 in the Beavers' regular-season opener Tuesday at the MSU Dome.
"Last year, she wouldn't have hit that shot," MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said of Klose, who was 0-of-3 from 3-point range and 1-of-8 from the field before the go-ahead basket. "She probably would've buried herself and been upset with herself. We talked about, 'As a sophomore, you're gonna miss some, you're gonna make some. But you've gotta stay the course and keep shooting.' She wanted the ball and that was huge, so I'm pretty proud of her for that."
Minot State University junior guard Alisha Jones drives past Jamestown’s Hannah Steele during a game Tuesday at the MSU Dome. The Beavers won 58-55.
The Beavers (1-0) trailed by two after Jamestown's Jessica Buck hit 1-of-2 free throws with 30 seconds remaining. After Klose's 3, Jamestown guard Hannah Steele drove the lane and missed a wild scoop shot.
MSU secured the rebound and senior guard Sacarra Molina made two free throws with two seconds remaining to account for the final margin.
"It was exciting for our first win," Klose said. "They've had a couple more games than us already this year so they're more in the swing of things than us. Coach said in the locker room, 'It's nice to learn while you're winning.' "
The wild finish capped a game of runs.
The Beavers jumped out to a 14-2 lead with active defense and several drives to the basket out of their spread Princeton-style offense.
But MSU star forward Carly Boag picked up her third foul with 6 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the half, and the Jimmies took the lead late in the half on a flurry of 3-pointers. Jamestown sophomore guard Maggie Seter knocked down three from long distance in the half, the second of which gave the Jimmies a 19-18 lead with 3:28 remaining.
Jamestown led 25-21 at the break, and grabbed its largest lead at 33-23 with 17:07 remaining in the game.
Then Molina scored six points and dished an assist to lead the Beavers on a 12-2 run to tie it at 35. She finished with a game-high 16 points.
"Sacarra can be a great player and she is a scorer," Green Gerding said. "The last two years, out of necessity, she's played the point. ... She's a lot more comfortable playing the wing and looking to do what she's good at, so I think it's a great role for her."
The teams traded buckets for the final 11 minutes, as neither team led by more than three points.
Jamestown coach Greg Ulland said his team simply missed too many shots. The Jimmies shot 26 percent from the field.
"We missed a couple easy bunnies," Ulland said. "I thought we had a couple chances to really put the dagger in 'em. Credit to (Green Gerding) and her team. They just kept on battling, they never quit."
Boag played just 18 minutes due to foul trouble, but finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. In her absence, 6-foot-1 freshman Sarah Lester controlled the boards from MSU, pulling down 11 rebounds.
The game counted as an exhibition for Jamestown (5-1), the No. 11 team in NAIA Division II. The Jimmies played without 6-foot senior center Bridget Schuneman, the team's leading scorer last season.
The Jimmies were led by Morgan Mathison's 10 points. Seter added nine, and Steele and Kayla Roemmich chipped in eight points apiece.
Jamestown plays another exhibition at St. Cloud State (Minn.) on Saturday, and MSU hosts Concordia College (Minn.) on Tuesday.