WINONA, Minn. – After playing the first 12 games of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season without a win, the Bemidji State University women's basketball team battled back from a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat Winona State University 70-68, on a last-second shot Friday evening in Winona, Minn.
After a turnover by WSU with nine seconds to go, BSU's Amy Lawson (Spencer, Iowa) brought the ball up the court for BSU with the score tied 68-68. With four tics on the clock, freshman guard lofted the ball towards the basket from half court in the face of the Winona State defense. Nancy McConkey (Superior, Wis.) hauled in the pass and drilled a five-foot jumper as time expired to steal the win 70-68.
The Warriors took a 2-0 lead just six seconds into the game and would hold that lead for the remainder of the half. The Warriors stretched their lead to as many as 16 points with 11-minutes and 12-seconds to go as the team hit five three-pointers during the first 8:48 of play.
BSU would rebound by mounting a 20-6 run during the next 7:08, to shrink the Warrior lead to just two-points.
WSU answered by scoring the final 12 points of the half on four consecutive three-point field goals putting the home team up 46-32 at the break.
The Beavers opened the second half scoring 12 of the first 15 points to whittle the WSU back into single-digits (49-44).
The Beavers closed the gap to one point with 7:08 gone in the second, (52-51) on a Stephanie Peterson (Bismarck, N.D.) lay-up. Just moments later Nicole Friend (International Falls, Minn.) found McConkey in the paint for a lay-up putting BSU on top (56-55) for the first time in the game.
McConkey would go on to score 12 of her game-high 20 points during the final 10:59 extending the Beavers' lead to as many as six points with just under four minutes to play in regulation.
WSU gained three buckets in the final 3:41 to knot the game at 68 apiece. The Warriors seemed to be in the drivers seat holding the ball with 27 seconds left. But with just nine seconds to go, WSU turned the ball over and left the door wide open for the BSU buzzer-beater.
In addition to McConkey, senior Allison Sanderberg scored 16 points while pulling seven rebounds. Maggie Gernbacher (Bloomington, Minn.) netted 15 points on 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc while Lawson collected a game-high nine assists and was 3-of-3 from downtown.
Kim Dreyer paced the Warriors putting up double-double numbers. The post player tied Amanda Evans for the team lead with 15 points while grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
The win brings BSU to 5-21 on the season and 1-12 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. The loss drops Winona State to 3-23 overall and 1-12 in NSIC play.
With just one game to play in the 2004-05 regular season, BSU and WSU are tied for seventh place in the NSIC standings at 1-12. As of Friday night the Beavers and Warriors will both hit the road for the first round of the 2005 NSIC tournament with one team going to first place Minnesota State University-Moorhead and the other traveling to St. Paul, Minn. to battle Concordia University-St. Paul.
If both teams win or lose their contests tomorrow, the tie-breaker used to separate the teams would be the NCAA Power Formula and strength of schedule in which BSU is thought to have the upper hand. If only one of the two wins tomorrow that team would garner the No. 7 seed and head to Concordia-St. Paul Wed. March 2.
The Beavers are back in action again tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. when they will tip off from the Gangelhoff Center in St. Paul, Minn. versus Concordia-St. Paul to wrap up the 2004-05 regular season.