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College women’s basketball: Olson, UMD make quick work of Golden Eagles

Senior forward near perfect as Bulldogs roll in NSIC play.

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Minnesota Duluth's Sarah Grow deflects a drive from Minnesota Crookston's Abi Fraaza during the first quarter of a women's basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021 at Romano Gym in Duluth. Grow was called for a foul on the play. Brandon Veale / Duluth News Tribune

Minnesota Duluth forward Brooke Olson played all of eight seconds before picking up a foul against Minnesota-Crookston and promptly getting pulled.

What’s more, Bulldogs coach Mandy Pearson kept Olson on the bench — the entire quarter.

Olson returned in the second quarter and the senior from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, showed just how dominant she can be by scoring 15 of her game-high 19 points in leading UMD to a 78-46 NSIC rout of the Golden Eagles Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, before 554 at Romano Gym.

“I should make her mad more often,” Pearson said with a smile. “She probably got anxious, ready to go, and she wants to be out there.”

Pearson was just trying to protect her star player, make sure she’ll be around at the end, if needed, when it matters. Turns out, this one was all but over after UMD’s dominating 25-11 second quarter.

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“She’s fun to coach,” Pearson said. “The best part about her is she just wants to win, and she wants to get her teammates involved. She’s a great team player, but at the same time, at any second, she can do exactly what she did tonight.”

Olson finished 8-for-8 shooting, including three 3-pointers, in just 12 minutes, 45 seconds, as UMD (4-3 overall, 2-1 NSIC) emptied the bench in the second half. Sarah Grow added 10 points as 11 players scored for the Bulldogs and nine players had at least five points apiece. UMD shot 51.6 percent for the game and 44.4 (8 of 18) from 3-point range.

“It takes all 18 players on this team to bring energy every single day of practice and in games, and I’m just glad everyone got rewarded today,” Olson said.

Forgive Olson for being humble. She’s that kind of player.

Olson’s second quarter was about as good as it gets as the 6-foot-2 forward scored her 15 points in a five-minute span.

“It’s about ball movement and utilizing everyone’s abilities, just playing good team basketball,” said Olson. “People are coming after us, and we have a big target on our backs, so we’re just trying to counter that.”

Yes, it’s been a tough schedule, no doubt, and prior to Saturday, the wins haven’t come easy for the defending NSIC champion Bulldogs this season.

“They haven’t,” Pearson said. “We were on a bus for seven days, a different hotel every night, but we came out 2-1 and played one of the best games against Drury (now 8-1, ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II) and didn’t even shoot the ball well. We got back and were tired and didn’t have our legs. We’re playing teams that are 8-1, 4-1, 5-2, and yeah, you don’t want your record to be bad, but we learn more by playing good teams at the beginning of the year.”

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Abi Fraaza had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench to lead Crookston (1-7, 0-2) and former Mountain Iron-Buhl standout Mary Burke, a senior forward, added 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.

“Credit to Duluth,” Golden Eagles coach Mike Roysland said. “They shot the ball extremely well tonight, and our biggest problem today was turnovers, just blatant turnovers that shouldn’t happen at this level.”

Crookston finished with 22 turnovers, and UMD had 10, so this game was far from perfect, but sometimes watching Olson, it was hard to tell.

“I love watching her play,” Roysland said, and then he laughed before adding, “except we’ve got to play against her.”

  • UMD remains home next weekend for doubleheaders against Minot State (Friday, Dec. 10) and Mary (Saturday, Dec. 11), with the men kicking things off both nights, 5:30 p.m. against Minot State and 3:30 p.m. against Mary.

Minnesota-Crookston 13-11-10-12—46
Minnesota Duluth 15-25-24-14—78
Minnesota-Crookston — Mary Burke 10, Bren Fox 4, Kylie Post 7, Abi Fraaza 15, Alex Page 5, Lily Orazem 5. Totals 16 12-14 46.
3-point goals — Burke 2.
Minnesota Duluth — Brooke Olson 19, Sarah Grow 10, Ann Simonet 7, Payton Kahl 3, Maesyn Thiesen 6, Madelyn Granica 7, Ani Tschida 7, Taytum Thoades 6, Kaylee Nelson 5, Ella Gilbertson 6, Shaily Hakamaki 2. Totals 33 4-7 78.
3-point goals — Olson 3, Simonet 2, Kahl, Tschida, Nelson.

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