A little help never hurt anybody.
St. Cloud State earned the fourth seed and the right to host a game in the first round of the NSIC Tournament on Wednesday with a 91-80 win over Bemidji State Saturday afternoon at Halenbeck Hall.
The Huskies will host the University of Sioux Falls at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The Cougars beat SCSU 92-79 back on Jan. 11 at Halenbeck.
“We feel really good about hosting, but it wouldn’t have mattered if we didn’t take care of business today,” SCSU head coach Lori Fish said. “We figured out a way to win. At this time of the year, that’s all you have to do.
“Sioux Falls is a great three-point shooting team with quick guards. Hopefully we’re ready for the challenge.”
St. Cloud State needed Minnesota State-Moorhead to lose on Saturday for the right to host. The Dragons obliged by losing 78-62 to the University of Mary.
The Huskies (12-10 NSIC, 16-10 overall) finished with the same NSIC record as the Dragons, but owned the tie-breaker advantage.
“We thought this might be our last home game as seniors,” SCSU senior guard Sam Price said. “It’s huge to have one more here. To get the win and another chance to play in front of this crowd is big for us.”
Being at home was of the utmost importance for St. Cloud State in the first round. The Huskies are 12-2 at home this season compared to 4-7 on the road.
“I’m just thrilled we’re at Halenbeck because we’ve been so successful here,” Fish said.
SCSU had to survive a late charge by the Beavers to get the home game. The Huskies led by as many as 19 with 18:32 to go, but Bemidji (5-17, 9-17) cut it to 86-80 with 1:54 remaining.
Price hit a three-pointer on a broken play with 54 seconds left to seal it.
“I think they just like to give me a heart attack,” Fish joked. “They like to have me have gray hair. But seriously, our seniors really stepped up all weekend for us.”
Price and fellow senior Jessica Benson both finished with 20 points on “Senior Night.” They were both honored after the game along with point guard Rachael Moen.
“Rachael drove on that three and I’m pretty sure she got hacked,” Price said. “I just picked the ball up and I heard people yelling that the shot clock was winding down. I threw it up and it went in. I guess I was blessed today.”
Benson finished with a double-double by hauling down 15 rebounds. Lexy Petermann added 19 points off the bench for the Huskies.
Upsala native Aimee Pelzer had seven points for the Beavers and Becker native Jessie Althoff had eight points.
BEMIDJI STATE (80)
Tatum Sheley 3-5 0-0 8, Jessie Althoff 4-13 0-1 8, Kate Warmack 7-13 6-6 20 (10 rebounds), Hanna Zerr 0-3 2-2 2, Morgan Lee 8-18 5-6 24 (4 assists), Allison Cordes 2-5 0-0 5, Katie Miller 2-2 0-0 4, Aimee Pelzer 2-3 3-3 7, Melissa Youngblut 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: FG 28-62, FT 18-20, REB 35, PF 19, TO 14.
ST. CLOUD STATE (91)
Carley Jeffery 4-7 0-0 11, Jessica Benson 7-13 6-7 20 (15 rebounds), Emma Konopasek 0-3 0-0 0, Sam Price 5-17 6-6 20 (6 assists), Rachael Moen 4-9 0-0 11 (5 assists), Betsy MacDonald 0-1 0-0 0, Lexy Petermann 8-11 0-0 19, Chelsea Nooker 1-3 6-6 8, Karissa LeCaptain 0-1 2-2 2. Totals: FG 29-65, FT 20-21, REB 37, PF 16, TO 9.
Halftime score: St. Cloud State 49, Bemidji State 35.