Since its addition to college basketball in 1980, the 3-point shot has been the great equalizer.
Just ask the Mesabi Range Lady Norse.
In Tuesday's North Division opener, the Lady Norse hit 14 three-pointers to upend the Central Lakes College Raiders women's basketball team 75-63.
Mesabi guards Nicole Switzer and Lindsay Burgau entered the game as two of the state's best 3-point shooting tandems. Switzer scored a game-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers in the second half. Burgau added 20 points while hitting six threes.
After taking a 13-point lead into the locker room, the Raiders came out and cut the Mesabi lead to seven. But Burgau and Switzer countered with long-range daggers.
"Mesabi answered everything we had," Raiders coach Dennis Eastman said. "I stressed to our players that it has to be team defense, that you have to cover for each other and at times they weren't."
Every time CLC cut the Lady Norse's lead to single digits, Switzer and Burgau stepped up.
Mesabi 75, Raiders 63
The stat: The Lady Norse buried 14 threes.
Next: at Itasca, 6 p.m. Friday
After four straight points from Kaylee Bandemer, who led CLC with 18, cut the Mesabi lead to 45-38, Switzer calmly nailed a three.
Later, when Bandemer and Raiders guard Nikki Perlinger combined for five points to make it a 56-47 game, Burgau buried a three.
Megan Eastman's play in the second half kept CLC in the second half. The point guard played her most complete game of the season, finishing with 16 points, six assists and eight steals.
"Megan played well, it was one of the best floor games I've seen her have," Dennis Eastman said. "If you would've asked her how she did she'd probably say, 'My dad was yelling at me all the time so I didn't do very good.' I'm just very hard on her. She just kicked back and let things come naturally.
"She gets mad at me a lot but she's one person I know I can drive."
Miscues early in the game cost CLC. At least four times, the Raiders missed easy buckets underneath. Combine that with 17 first-half turnovers and the Raiders dug themselves a hole.
"I thought we played well in the second half," Dennis Eastman said. "If you add another 10 points in the first we're right there."
Mesabi Range 34 41 -- 75
Central Lakes 21 42 -- 63
Nicole Switzer 21, Lindsay Burgau 20, Jenny Martinson 10, Jo Hejny 13, Katie Scheuring 3, Nikki Pfeutzenreuter 3, Krystal Toney 3, Brook Walker 2. Team totals: FG 26-62 (42 percent), FT 9-14 (64 percent). 3-point baskets: 14 (Switzer 5, Burgau 6). North Division -- 1-0. Overall -- 11-1.
Bobbi VanWechel 16, Megan Eastman 16, Kaylee Bandemer 18, Nikki Perlinger 5, Jada Illies 6, Jackie Sullivan 2. Team totals: FG 21-54 (39 percent), FT 19-22 (86 percent). 3-point baskets: 2 (VanWechel, Eastman). North Division -- 0-1. Overall -- 1-12. Next game: at Itasca College 6 p.m. Friday.
Rebounds -- CLC 31 (Perlinger 6, Illies 6, Bandemer 5, VanWechel 5), MR 39 (Hejny 8). Assists -- CLC 14 (Eastman 6), MR 21 (Switzer 5). Steals -- CLC 15 (Eastman 8), MR 16 (Switzer 5). Turnovers -- CLC 28, MR 30.
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