BEMIDJI, Minn. – For the second consecutive night, the Bemidji State University women's basketball team was poised to gain its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win late in the second half, and for the second consecutive night, the win has alluded them due to inconsistent play down the stretch.
When BSU freshman Amy Lawson (Spencer, Iowa) drove the lane
for a lay-up with 7:31 remaining in the game, it gave BSU
its largest lead of the second half at eight points (53-45).
But in the remaining seven-plus minutes, BSU collected just
one field goal and was outscored 20-4 as Southwest Minnesota
State went on to gain a 65-57 victory Saturday at the BSU
Reagan French would get the SMSU comeback started with a lay-up at the 7:17 mark. She added another jumper in the run, but it was Kelly Crimi who would pace the Mustangs, scoring nine points in the final five minutes, including a four-for-four performance at the free-throw line during the stretch.
The first half was all BSU. After seven minutes and 30 seconds the Beavers owned a 17-6 lead as six BSU players etched their names in the scoring column with senior Allison Sanderberg (Duluth, Minn.) pacing the team with five points.
The Mustangs would whittle the lead to one point on two different occasions, but each time BSU answered with with a quick basket. The first was a jumper from Sanderberg to put BSU up 21-18 with 5:45 to play in the half and the second was a three-pointer from Lawson to put BSU ahead by four just 29 seconds later.
The Beavers would go on to push the lead to eight points (32-24) before SMSU's Michelle Bruns knocked down a pair of free-throws as time in the first half expired to bring the Mustangs to within six points (32-26) at the break.
The Beavers shot 54 percent in the first (13-24) and held a 14-11 edge on the glass.
Southwest Minnesota State came out of the intermission to score two quick three-pointers and jumper to take a 34-32 lead less than three minutes into the second.
BSU knotted the game at 34 seconds later and would go up by three when sophomore Nicole Friend (International Falls, Minn.) nailed a three at the 15:02 mark. After a lay-up by Bruns brought the Mustangs within one (37-36), Friend hit her second triple of the night to give the Beavers a four-point cushion with 13:42 to play.
Bemidji State increased their advantage to eight points before making just one of its final eight field goal attempts and committing four turnovers in a less than four minutes to contribute to the SMSU run to finish the game and claim the win.
For the game, BSU shot 43.4 percent (23-53) while the Mustangs were 19-of-46 for 41.3 percent. SMSU held a 33-31 advantage on the boards while getting 16 more free-throw opportunities than the Beavers, shooting 19-of-27 from the line.
The Beavers were led by sophomore Nancy McConkey (Superior, Wis.) who collected the third double-double of her career with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Lawson added 12 points and a team-high five assists while Sanderberg pitched in nine points and led all players with a pair of blocks.
Crimi was six-for-nine from the floor, including five three-point field goals, and a perfect four-of-four from the line to pace the Mustangs with 21 points. Bruns added 14 points and a team-high five assists while Kristin Hairston led the team with six rebounds.
After the game BSU took time to honor its three seniors, Allison Sanderberg, Serena Nalls and Stacia Swanson, who played their final regular season game at the BSU Gymnasium tonight.
The loss drops BSU to 4-19 on the season and 0-10 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, marking the first time in since the 1981-82 season that Beavers have dropped their first 10 league contests to begin a season. The win moves SMSU to 16-8 overall and 6-4 in NSIC play.
The Beavers now load the bus for their final four regular season contests. Next weekend the team travels to Aberdeen, S.D. to battle Northern State in a 6:00 p.m. tip-off Friday and to Moorhead, Minn. the following night for a 6:00 p.m. start versus Minnesota State University-Moorhead.