They didn’t. The Beavers broke out and topped Alaska 70-59 in their first win over an NCAA opponent this season on the final day of the AT&T Hoops Classic in Anchorage.
“We have to be more aggressive offensively,” head coach Cody Burgess said. “We came out strong and got a quick lead, but we weren’t able to compete where we needed to compete. I’m not sure how many games it’s going to take to find team chemistry, but eight apparently isn’t enough.”
The Nanooks (0-8) shot just over 29 percent from the field in the first half after recording their lowest shooting percentage of the season the night before.
Nicole Bozek got off to another hot start, knocking in 13 points before intermission. She accounted for half of the team’s 26 first-half points. They headed into the locker room down six points at 32-26.
Bozek and Jessica Harrison each closed out the first half with six rebounds. The team totaled 28 rebounds to Minot’s 16, but as has been the story in the first seven games, turnovers and missed shots cost the Nanooks the lead.
There was no saving grace in the second half. The Nanooks scored just two points in the first six minutes of play and fell into a hole that got as deep as 26 points.
With Bozek in foul trouble, they struggled to find a consistent shooter. Autumn Greene led with 13 points in the half to finish with 15 total.
Bozek did get into the game for 14 minutes. She put up another eight points and ended the night with a season high 21 and eight rebounds.
“Bozek is beginning to play as aggressively as we want her to. It’s her, Jeni Gabriel and Autumn Greene competing and leading us right now,” Burgess said.
Greene led with nine rebounds, again falling one short of a double-double.
For Burgess and company, the loss is the eighth this season and the 14th consecutive loss for the program, dating back to February.
“We haven’t found any shooting rhythm,” Burgess said. “If we make some of those easy buckets, it’s a completely different ballgame. I told them who we needed to stop and who we needed to defend, and we didn’t do that. In the last five minutes, the kids on the court did what we asked, but it was too late.”
Alaska returns to action after the semester break on New Year’s Day at 1 p.m. when they host their second conference game of the season against Seattle Pacific.