MARSHALL, Minn. – Despite holding a 23-21 halftime lead, the Bemidji
State University women's basketball team was defeated, 55-44,
by Southwest Minnesota State University Saturday night at
the R/A Facility in Marshall, Minn. The Mustangs outshot BSU
18-10 from the line in the second half to gain the victory.
After allowing SMSU to score 10 unanswered points to begin the game, the Beavers used the final 16:04 of the first half to battle back and capture a two-point lead before the halftime horn sounded.
Freshman Stephanie Peterson (Bismarck, N.D.) started the comeback putting an errant Maggie Gernbacher (Bloomington, Minn.) three-point attempt back for the Beavers' first points of the game. She would add a pair of buckets in the half including a jumper with 5:37 remaining in the half to knot the game at 17-17.
Nicole Friend (International Falls, Minn.) scored four crucial points in the half. The sophomore gave the Beavers their first lead (21-19) of the game on a pair of free-throws with 4:50 left. And after SMSU's Kelsey Wells tied the game from the free-throw line (21-21), Friend sank a jumper in the final seconds of the half to give BSU a 23-21 advantage as they headed into the break. Senior Allison Sanderberg (Duluth, Minn.) pitched in five of her game-high 13 points during the run.
The Beavers held SMSU without a field goal in the final 5:04 of the half.
SMSU again came out of the gates hitting its first two shots of the second half to go up 25-23. They would never trail again.
Friend's jumper with 18:04 to go in regulation again tied the game (25-25) but the Mustangs would outscore the Beavers 12-2 during the next 5:10 to propel them to the 55-44 victory.
Sanderberg's 13 points led all scorers and fell just one point shy of her career best of 14 set at North Dakota State University (11/20/04). Rounding out the Beaver's top-two scorers was Friend who more than doubled her previous career-best (5 points) with 11 points Saturday draining her first three of the season. Freshman Amy Lawson (Spencer, Iowa) added five points and a career-high seven steals in the game.
SMSU was led by the duet of Reagan French and Ericka Nieman who totaled 12 and 11 points respectively. Kristin Hairston grabbed a game-high nine rebounds as the Mustangs controlled the boards by a 40-34 margin.
The game originally scheduled for Friday at 6:00 p.m. was moved to Saturday at 6:00 p.m. as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference postponed all of its games due to inclimate weather.
BSU falls to 3-14 on the season and 0-5 in NSIC play marking the first time since 2001, that Bemidji State has posted five consecutive losses to begin a conference season. The team will be back in action Sunday when it travels to Wayne State College. The game is slated for 6:00 p.m. start.