WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Brooklyn Bachmann taking reserve role with Beavers in stride

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Jan. 20—BEMIDJI — Brooklyn Bachmann isn't used to coming off the bench. But if that's what it takes, she's all for it.

"We've been discussing it all season, trying to get a better start for the team," Bachmann said. "We've been messing with lineups and stuff in practice. ... I think we've seen some benefits from it already."

Bachmann, a fifth-year senior, has been a near-lock in the starting lineup since her freshman season. She had started in 102 of her first 105 games, but she's been a reserve in BSU's past three contests.

Yet of all the players to face a change like this, Bachmann is particularly equipped to handle it.

"She was a leader about it," head coach Chelsea DeVille said. "She said it was the right call. She got it, she understood and she moved on. And she's been playing well in significant minutes still."

The lineup tinkering is a result of the team's trend of slow starts to games. Personnel-wise, the Beavers also wanted another shooter on the court to space the floor.

"Our first five or 10 minutes seem to decide if we're going to win or lose a game when we look back at it," Bachmann said. "(We're) trying to get more shooters in that starting lineup and then have a little bit of diversity coming off the bench."

Coley Rezabek has started the past three games in place of Bachmann, bolstering the team's 3-point capabilities. While Bachmann is a frequent downhill driver alongside starter Trinity Yoder, Bemidji State instead wanted to pair Sydney Zerr with another shooter on the arc. That combo also gives more room to operate in the paint for posts Rachael Heittola and Taylor Vold.

"Offensively, we can see more and get more done because we have two great shooters out there now, two good posts, and then a great (attacker)," DeVille said of the updated lineup. "We have a little bit of everything."

The move also came in response to Bachmann's declining offensive numbers. The 1,000-point scorer had just three double-digit scoring games from the starting lineup this winter, but she netted 13 and 14 in her two most recent efforts off the bench.

"It's no different getting subbed in a couple minutes after the start compared to the start. It's not something you can sit around and hang your head about," Bachmann said. "(I'm) thinking about our main goal, thinking about our teammates. You've got to be excited for Coley. She's one of my best friends. Just focusing on that stuff."

Bachmann and the Beavers (9-6, 7-4 NSIC) have won two of three games since the switch. They'll try to improve on that mark this weekend when they face Sioux Falls (11-6, 6-4 NSIC) and Southwest Minnesota State (8-6, 5-5 NSIC) in a pair of road games. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, at USF and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at SMSU.

As for the starting lineup, the coaches are going with their gut. The same goes for the final minutes, which is where they put more stock. And Bachmann's often on the floor at that point, too.

"It's just matter-of-fact: 'Are we going to be better if we make this decision?'" DeVille said. "I think (changing the starting lineup) used to be harder on me. And it still is. But we don't look at my win-loss record based on 'Who did she start?' You look at the end of the game."