Beavers Garner First NSIC Road Win On The Season
Friday, January 17, 2003

Jan. 17, 2003

Morris, Minn. - Behind a strong defensive effort in holding Minnesota-Morris (1-14, 0-7) to 41 percent shooting and forcing 27 turnovers, Bemidji State (6-9, 2-4) won on the road, 69-55 at the P.E. Center.

BSU got on the board first thanks to a bucket by sophomore forward Stacia Swanson (Sioux City, Iowa) and it was a lead that the Beavers would never relinquish. The Cougars would get to within a point at 16-15 with 11:55 to go in the first half but the visitors went on a modest 19-12 run to close out the rest of the frame. The final eight BSU points in that stretch came from the hands of Swanson and junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.) as BSU held a 35-27 advantage going in to the locker room.

Swanson held the scoring lead at the break with 10 points with Graf netting eight. UM-M shot 50 percent from the field compared to the 49 percent for BSU but the Beavers made five more field goals (16) than the hosts (11).

BSU held the Cougars to two baskets, one from long-range, for the first 5:05 of the second half and increased its lead to 51-32. Minnesota-Morris committed seven turnovers during that stint and were held without a field goal attempt for 2:03. From that point on, the Beaver lead would never shrink under 15 points the rest of the way.

“ We had a pretty good start in the second half as we got them out of their rhythm with our defensive pressure,” said assistant coach Jason Sobolik. “We went with more half-court traps and from those we got a lot of steals and converted them into easy baskets.”

For the game, BSU shot 44 percent with UM-Morris hitting on 41 percent of its shots. The Cougars kept themselves within range thanks to the long-ball as they were 11 of 24 behind the arc. Meanwhile, BSU was just 1-for-17 from three-point land. The boards were basically evened up with BSU holding a slim 36-32 advantage.

“ We struggled shooting the ball,” said Sobolik. “The one-for-17 is not indicative of our team. But there was some balanced scoring and we had some nice interior passing. Hopefully, the girls will have some legs for tomorrow’s match-up against Northern State.”

Swanson tied for the game-high with 18 points and grabbed a game-best nine boards. Graf finished with 16 points. Senior guard Crystal Jones (Side Lake, Minn.) added eight points with senior guard Christi Goodhart (Manteca, Calif.) followed with seven.

Junior forward Amber Thomas (Long Beach, Calif.) came off the bench to add a career-best six assists and pull down five rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

Danielle Mercurio led the hosts with 18 points, including six-for-12 from three-point range. Malinda Berglund netted 13 points but combined with Mercurio to turn the ball over 11 times.

Tomorrow, BSU travels to the Barnett Center in Aberdeen, S.D. to take on the Wolves of Northern State. The game is scheduled to get under-way at 5:30 p.m. to wrap up the Beavers longest conference road stint of the season.

Notes: This is the fourth time this season that BSU has forced its opponents to at least 25 turnovers...The Cougars have now dropped their eighth straight on the season...With the win tonight, the Beavers have won the last eight in the overall series including its 44th in school history - most against any opponent...The six wins on the campaign has surpassed last year’s win total when BSU went 5-22...The 11 three-point baskets allowed by BSU is the second-highest mark by an opponent this season...The 32 rebounds that UM-Morris had is tied for the lowest mark by a BSU opponent this year - it was done three other times.