The hottest team in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference visits the Minot State University Dome to take on the Beavers tonight at 6 p.m.
The Concordia-St. Paul women's basketball squad is leading the NSIC South Division and has won five straight games, including wins over ranked Augustana College and Minnesota State-Mankato.
Anika Whiting, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward, leads the Golden Bears (13-5 overall, 11-3 NSIC) with 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Minot State University guard Sacarra Molina looks to score during a game against St. Cloud State on Jan. 25 at the MSU Dome.
"Whiting is a really, really good post player," MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding said. "She just uses her body well. You've gotta limit her touches because if she gets it something good's gonna happen."
And Whiting isn't alone inside. C-SP plays three 6-foot-2 forwards regularly and leads the conference in blocked shots (5.83 per game).
"We need to make sure that we're not going too deep in the lane and getting our shots blocked," MSU point guard Alisha Jones said. "We need to look for pull-ups or look to kick it out for a better shot."
MSU junior Carly Boag, a 6-foot-2 forward, will be tasked with battling C-SP's formidable front line. Senior Francesca DeAngelis, a 5-foot-9 wing player, will also spend stretches defending larger players.
On Saturday, the Beavers (9-9, 5-9) host Mankato, which is tied for second in the NSIC South Division with Augustana.
"Mankato is one of the most fundamentally sound defensive teams we'll see all season," Green Gerding said. "They rotate well, they're always in the right spot, they drop to the level of the ball, they're active, they switch everything hard. They just make it really hard to operate in the half court because they play just good, solid fundamental defense."
The Mavericks (14-4, 10-4) are second in the conference in average turnover margin (plus-5.8) and fourth in 3-point field goals made (7.2 per game). Mankato boasts the NSIC's second leading scorer in Ali Wilkinson, a 6-foot forward who is averaging 18.8 points per contest.
"We definitely have our hands full this weekend," Green Gerding said. "And against good teams you have to be sound fundamentally, you have to make them work on every possession and you have to limit their opportunities by boxing out and keeping them off the boards."