#6 North Dakota Too Much For Bemidji State, 86-58
Saturday, December 21, 2002
Dec. 21, 2002

Grand Forks, N.D. - Behind a 38-12 run to close out the first half, #6 North Dakota (9-1, 0-0 NCC) held a 49-25 advantage at halftime en route to an 86-58 victory over Bemidji State (4-5, 0-0 NSIC) at the Hyslop Arena tonight.

“ Things did not go as well in the first half with our confidence,” said BSU head coach Mike Power. “But once we got used to the calls (referees), we played good. We could have rolled over and died but we did not. I just told the kids that if they keep on playing hard, good things will happen.”

BSU junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.) opened up the scoring with a three-pointer after the Fighting Sioux missed on their first four attempts. The teams would trade baskets through the first five minutes from there. Sophomore forward Stacia Swanson (Sioux City, Iowa) scored eight of Bemidji State’s first 13 points to put the visitors up 13-11 at the 14:24 mark and forced UND to take a time-out.

At that point, UND’s Becky Moen helped the hosts go on a 19-0 run with 12 points as North Dakota went up 30-13 at 7:54. Senior guard Christi Goodhart (Manteca, Calif.) then snapped a Beaver scoreless drought of 6:28 with a jumper. For the final 7:39 of the half, North Dakota scored 19 of the final 29 points to take a 49-25 lead into intermission.

UND nearly had as many offensive rebounds (10) as Bemidji State had in total rebounds (12) at the half. North Dakota converted on 13 of 16 free throws with Bemidji State going just 2-for-2. Swanson had eight points at the half to pace the Beavers. Moen had 17 points for the Fighting Sioux on 6 of 10 shooting, including 3 of 6 three-pointers.

The second half saw BSU hold tough with the Fighting Sioux as shown in the points, 37-33, with North Dakota holding the slim margin. The Beavers could only trim the gap to 21 at the 18:14 mark after a three-point play by sophomore forward Melissa Bessler (Lake George, Minn.). The UND lead would inflate to as much as 33 at 75-42 with 6:49 remaining.

Junior forward Amber Thomas (Long Beach, Calif.) played well in the second half by hitting on three of her six attempts as well as tying with Swanson for the team-lead with four rebounds. For the third straight contest, Graf paced the Beavers as she totaled 17 points. Swanson was next with 10 points as well as nabbing a team-high three steals.

“Defensively, we stepped up in the second half,” said Power. “They (UND) had to really work for their points.”

The taller inside players of North Dakota were the difference as the Fighting Sioux held the edge on the boards, 45-27. The 27 rebounds for BSU was a season-low. Also, BSU was just 12 of 16 from the free throw line compared to UND’s 24-for-30.

North Dakota’s Moen scored just three points after the break but led all scorers with 20. She also had a game-high five steals and five assists as she was part of the 20-6 advantage that UND held over Bemidji State in the assists column. Jenny Boll, who was 5-for-10 from the floor, added 15 points while Amy Mahlum had 14 and four steals.

Bemidji State opens up conference action next with games at Wayne State (NE) and Southwest State. Saturday and Sunday’s games begin at 5:30 p.m.

“ You can look at this loss two ways, negatively or positively," said Power. "I take the positive spin on things. We played on of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country and came out of it almost .500. I think it sets us up for the conference schedule because we have played the best of the best. It gives us a shot of confidence.”

Notes: The 86 points given up by BSU is the most for an opponent this season and the most since UM-Duluth scored 89, Feb. 27, 2002...The Fighting Sioux have extended their winning streak at Hyslop Arena to 38 wins...North Dakota has won its previous eight games this season by an average of nearly 24 points...The win pushes the UND streak to 10 games in the overall series and has won the last seven meetings in Grand Forks...Head coach Mike Power was assessed a technical foul in the first half...Stacia Swanson has either tied or led the club in rebounds in seven contests...Amber Graf has netted 10+ plus in all nine games this season.