Carly Boag's 24-point, 18-rebound performance Saturday against Minnesota Duluth was just the latest in a run of statistically gaudy outings by Minot State's gifted junior forward.
In MSU's first season in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, Boag has immediately become one of the league's best players and a headache for opposing coaches.
With a powerful 6-foot-2 frame, Boag has the strength to bang inside but also the agility to run the court with guards and track rebounds out of her area.
Minot State University forward Carly Boag makes a move around a Minnesota State-Moorhead defender during a December game at the MSU Dome. The 6-foot-2 junior’s play has drawn rave reviews from opposing coaches.
"The thing that makes her nice is she's very mobile with her size," said Upper Iowa coach Carol Russell, who watched Boag pour in a career-high 37 points on the Peacocks on Jan. 11. "She's a strong girl and she gets up and down the floor, and she can put it on the floor a little bit."
On a 9-9 team that's gone through lengthy winning and losing streaks, Boag's production has been one of the few constants. The Tamworth, Australia, native is the NSIC's top rebounder (11.2 per game) and is fifth in the league in scoring (16.9 ppg), third in field-goal percentage (55.3) and in the top 10 in steals (2.39) and blocks (1.0) per game.
University of Mary coach Rick Neumann said Boag is "in the conversation" for the best player he's seen in his six years of coaching in the league. Neumann said the top performer is Wayne State graduate Ashley Arlen, a two-time conference player of the year whom Neumann described as similar to Boag but with a better 3-point shot.
"Outside of (Arlen), Carly is as good or better than anybody else," Neumann said. "Their skill set's really similar. They drive, they can put it on the floor, can finish with either hand. They're just really athletic and a matchup nightmare."
Boag scored 31 points in MSU's conference opener against Mary on Dec. 1 and put up 16 points and 15 rebounds on the Marauders on Jan. 15. Neumann was particularly impressed by her ability to get off quality shots from multiple angles and with either hand.
"Her shot creativity is huge," Neumann said. "She doesn't have one move that she goes to all the time. She releases it at different points, she's sneaky around the rim. She finds ways to get shots at the rim, which not only allows her to score, she draws more fouls and gets to the free-throw line."
Boag's versatility is a common topic in opposing coaches' assessments of her game.
"Obviously she's got good size, has very quick feet for a girl her size," said Northern State coach Curt Fredrickson, who has more than 700 career wins with the Wolves. "When she gets the ball at the high post or medium post, she has a very quick one or two first steps that makes it tough for a true post to guard her."
MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said Boag is putting up better numbers this season than the previous two because she's staying out of foul trouble and pursuing rebounds relentlessly.
"The thing that she's doing better this year than last year is she just never quits," Green Gerding said. "Her motor's always going. She misses a shot, she's getting the rebound and putting it back up and then running down the court to play defense. She's just consistent with her effort level. And I think part of that's maturity."
Another reason for Boag's improvement could be the Beavers' reliance on her. She had a tendency to disappear for stretches last season, content to let twin Christina Boag or Katie Hardy share the wealth inside.
With Hardy and Christina sidelined with injuries this season - and the Beavers playing a tougher Division II schedule - Carly has to perform every game, and does.
"Carly has always been the kind of kid that raises her level of play according to the competition that she plays," Green Gerding said. "Now that she's playing a good team every single night, she shows up ready to go."
The Beavers Concordia-St. Paul (13-5 overall, 11-3 NSIC) on Friday and Minnesota State-Mankato (14-4, 10-4) on Saturday.