Bemidji State defeats Barry University, 78-70, at "On the Beach" Thanksgiving Classic
Saturday, November 30, 2002
Nov. 30, 2002
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. - [box score] Bemidji State's women's basketball team opened up three 11-point leads in the second half en route to a 78-70 win over host Barry University on the second day of the Comfort Inn "On the Beach" Thanksgiving Classic.

"I think the key for us was the first 10 minutes," BSU head coach Mike Power said. "We really got good pressure on defense and they got flustered and had no answers for that."

The contest began on a good note for the Beavers with a three-point basket from sophomore forward Stacia Swanson (Sioux City, Iowa). BSU then forced Barry into an early time out ant the 18:29 mark after a home turnover. BSU came out of the time-out and went ahead 5-0 after a back-door pass from junior forward Amber Graf found Swanson under the bucket. In total, the Beavers held the Buccaneers scoreless for the game's first 4:19.

Barry pulled to within a point at 11-10 before BSU went on an 8-2 run to go ahead 19-12 and force the Bucs into another time out. The half ended on a lay-up from BSU senior guard Kristy Caviness (Pamona, Calif.). BSU held a 32-31 lead at the half as neither team was able to build more than a three-point cushion over the final 6:06 of the stanza.

The teams combined for 22 turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the first half, and BSU was able to build its halftime lead with the aide of a 14-2 scoring advantage in the paint.

To repeat history, the second half began with an eight-foot bank shot from Swanson, who drew a foul on the shot. She completed the conventional three-point play to put BSU ahead by four, and maintained that advantage for the rest of the contest. A three-point bucket from senior guard Crystal Jones and a 10-foot jumper from the elbow from Graf gave BSU a 51-42 advantage with 12:37 to play.

BSU had to fight foul trouble in the second half, as it put the Buccaneers into the bonus with 11:32 to play in the game. Caviness put BSU ahead by 11 with a pair of free throws at 8:55, and from there Barry would bring the deficit down to single digits but BSU would have a response every time.

Jones hit five straight points for BSU to put the Beavers up 66-55 at the 5:24 mark, and a banked three-point bucket from senior Christi Goodhart (Manteca, Calif.) again staked BSU to an 11-point margin at the 4:28 mark.

A Barry rally left BSU clinging to a five-point lead with 1:26 to play, leading to a Beaver time out. BSU was able to hang on to the lead by playing ball-control and picking up several key offensive rebounds down the stretch to seal a 78-70 victory.

BSU hit on 15 of 26 field goal attempts in the second half (.577) while limiting Barry to just 46 percent from the field (13 of 28).

Swanson led the Beavers with 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals - all game-high efforts. Graf finished with 15 points and four assists despite spending time on the bench with foul trouble in the second half, while Jones added 13 points and Caviness 12 in the winning effort.

Polona Oberc led the Bucs with 14 points while the Beavers limited Barry star Candice Blackbird to eight points on two of seven shooting. Blackbird was hampered with foul trouble and played just 27 minutes.

"I think Barry is a different team without her," Power said. "We wanted to take it to her and draw her third foul early in the second half. Overall I take my hat off to the kids; it was a total team effort and the kids are real excited by the win."

The win improved Bemidji State to 2-1 on the season while Barry suffered its first loss and fell to 2-1. Bemidji State is back in action Tuesday, Dec. 3 with a 7:00 p.m. Central time tip-off at MSU-Mankato to wrap up a four-game road trip.

NOTES

This was the first-ever meeting between BSU and Barry... Swanson and Graf were named to the all-tournament team... Jones tied her career high with three three-point field goals... BSU won back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 12-18, 2000.
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