GRAND FORKS, N.D. –-- The Bemidji State University women's basketball
team, in the midst of a five-game road trip, ran into a roadblock
this afternoon at the Betty Engelstad Thanksgiving Classic.
No. 3 Seattle Pacific University handed the Beavers their
third loss of the season, 76-56, as the Falcons' Brittney
Kroon blocked 11 BSU shot attempts. Maggie Gernbacher
(Bloomington, Minn.) led the Bemidji State offensive attack
for the second consecutive game pouring in 18 points.
The Beavers used a 13-for-30 (.433) shooting performance to hold the lead for the majority of the first half.
Freshman Amy Lawson (Sioux City, Iowa) hit a jumper to illuminate BSU's half of the scoreboard just 10 seconds into the game giving BSU a 2-0 lead. Although SPU battled back to tie the game on three occasions during the first nine minutes, BSU did not surrender its advantage as Lawson and fellow rookie Stephanie Peterson (Bismarck, N.D.) tallied four points a piece as BSU clung to a 14-13 lead with 10:54 to play in the stanza. But When SPU's Autumn Fielding made good on a lay-up and and drained a pair of free throws after being fouled on the Falcons' next possession, she gave SPU its first lead of the game and sparked an eight-point run for Seattle Pacific putting the national power up by five points (19-14) with 9:22 to play in the first.
BSU regained the lead just 58 seconds later (21-19) as the team ran off seven points of its own--kick-started by a Gernbacher three and capped off with a Nancy McConkey (Superior, Wis.) jumper.
SPU came back to tie the game for the seventh time in the half and would extend its lead to as many as five points with just over three minutes to play, but BSU would score the final four points of the half to head into the break trailing Seattle Pacific by just two points (35-33).
BSU did everything right in the first half outshooting SPU (43.3-42.3), holding an edge on the glass (17-16) and causing the Falcons to turn the ball over nine times to BSU's seven, but it was free-throws that kept the Falcons in the game as they converted 11 attempts into 10 points (.909).
It took almost 1:30 for either team to score as the second half got underway and it was BSU who drew first blood on a pair of McConkey free-throws to lock the game 35-35. Unfortunately that was as close as the Beavers would get. SPU rattled off 10 of the next 13 points to take a 46-38 lead and would not look back outlasting BSU to a 76-56 win.
Seattle Pacific turned it on in the second half shooting 16-of-31 (.516) for a game total of 27-for-57 (.474) while the Beavers went cold in the final 20 minutes going just 8-for-36 (.222). SPU also bounced back to take control of the boards hauling down 23 second half rebounds to hold a 39-36 advantage for the game.
BSU's Gernbacher collected her 18 points on 6-of-16 from the field and 3-of-8 from behind the arc. Peterson grabbed a game-high eight rebounds while totaling seven points as she continued to be a valuable asset in the paint for BSU. Lawson paced the team with five assists.
Seattle Pacific was led by a 19-point performance from Michelle Beaumont. She was 5-of-8 from the field, 4-of-6 from outside the arc and perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Kroon grabbed eight rebounds to tie BSU's Peterson for the game-high while Mandy Wood collected five assists.
The loss drops BSU to 2-3 on the season.
The Beavers are back on the road tonight en route to the Rocky Mountains where they will take part in three games. Wednesday (Dec. 1) the team invades Colorado School of Mines for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off, then it is off to Golden, Colo. where BSU will participate in the Coors Classic. The team will play head coach Mike Power's previous team Metro State Friday (Dec. 3) only to turn around and play Regis the next night. Both games are slated for 8:00 p.m. CST tip-offs and will be broadcast live on 89.7 FM with Josh Harvey handling the play-by-play duties.