Beavers Top Bobcats, 58-55 For First Win Of Season
Friday, November 29, 2002
Nov. 29, 2002

Miami Shores, FL - At the Comfort Inn “On the Beach” Thanksgiving Classic this afternoon, Bemidji State (1-1, 0-0 NSIC) went on a 14-7 run in the final 5:34 to hang on for a 58-55 win over Lees-McRae (1-1, 0-0 CVAA).

“It’s a nice win because we need it for our confidence,” said head coach Mike Power. “We gave a good effort and stepped up the defense in the end there.”

BSU would grab a quick lead at 4-0 fueled by a jumper by sophomore forward Melissa Bessler (Lake George, Minn.) and a layup by junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.). The teams would turn the ball over on six of seven possessions at one point before Lees-McRae went up 5-4 at 14:59. The Bobcats would increase its cushion to 9-4 before sophomore forward Stacia Swanson (Sioux City, Iowa) netted a six-footer in the lane at the 12:53 mark to bring BSU within three. With the score notted at 10 at the 10:04 mark, LMC reeled off 13 of the next 17 to go up 23-14. Swanson ended that spurt with a jumper once again in the paint area. The Beavers full-court trapping defense gave the Bobcats fits as LMC turned the ball over 17 times and three in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the half. Swanson led all scorers with 11 going into the locker room on 5-7 shooting.

It took Bemidji State 1:56 to get on the board courtesy of a three-pointer by senior guard Crystal Jones (Side Lake, Minn.). That basket put the Beavers in the lead 30-29. They held LMC scoreless until the 15:29 mark of the half. But the Bobcats tied the score at 33 and led by as many as four on two occasions, the last being 48-44 at the 5:34 mark. A jumper by Swanson at 3:46 put the Beavers up for good at 51-50. Lees-McRae got possession with eight seconds remaining with a chance to tie but a three-pointer by DeAnna Lady rimmed out as the final horn sounded.

For the game, BSU doubled up LMC in steals (20-10) and were 12-22 from the free throw line compared to the 3-5 for Lees-McRae.

Swanson paced the Beavers with 18 points on 8-16 shooting while Graf chipped in 13. The Bobcats got 20 points and 13 rebounds from Jameka Hemming and 16 from Julie Hardison.

The Beavers forced Lees-McRae into 31 turnovers while they had 20. Power feels his team’s turnovers were something that can be fixed.

“They were unforced errors that we have to eliminate. We have to play smart on offense. When we do get them (Lees-McRae) to turn the ball over, we have to capitalize on those opportunities. But overall, we did some things better this game than our first.”

Bemidji State continues action tomorrow at the Comfort Inn “On the Beach” Thanksgiving Classic. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. EST against host Barry University.

Notes: This is the first ever meeting between the two schools....Stacia Swanson has led her team in both games in scoring and rebounding...The 19 shots taken by Amber Graf is a career-high.