BROOKINGS, S.D. (Frost Arena) -- [box score] The Bemidji State University women's basketball team broke the seal on the 2006-06 basketball season with a 78-60 exhibition loss to NCAA Division I South Dakota State University Tuesday evening at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D.
The Beavers clung to SDSU for 30 minutes, playing to within one point (47-46) midway through the second half, but a 16-2 run by the Jackrabbits with five minutes to go, put the game out of reach for the visitors.
Junior all-conference center Stephanie Peterson (Bismarck, N.D.) led Bemidji State with a double-double posting game-highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds. She was 8-of-15 from the floor (.533) while adding a block and a pair of steals. Nancy McConkey (Sr., F, Superior, Wis.), scored 11 points and pulled down five rebounds while Amy Lawson (Jr., PG, Spencer, Iowa) recorded a balanced night with nine points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
South Dakota State was led by the duo of Stacy Oistad and Courtney Grimsrud who each netted 16 points. Grimsrud also matched Megan Vogel for an SDSU-high 10 rebounds in the game.
BSU and the Jackrabbits played comparable games, but when it came down to it, turnovers and free-throws cost the Beavers their first ever win over SDSU.
South Dakota State forced the Beavers into 24 turnovers while committing just 15 of their own and got to the line twice as many times as BSU. Although the Jacks converted just 10-of-19 free throws (.526), their counterparts were just 3-of-8 from the line (.375).
It took Bemidji State a few minutes to shake the rust off adjust to the flow of the game. After just 2:15, BSU found itself in a 6-2 hole after a pair of turnovers. But when McConkey found Peterson open for a jumper, it kick-started a six-pont run lasting nearly five minutes. Lawson would cap off the streak with a steal and a lay-up to give the Beavers their largest lead of the game, 8-6, with 12:37 to play in the first stanza.
The Jackrabbits bounced back into the lead rattling off 11 unanswered points, including five by Vogel, to build a nine-point lead (17-8) with nearly nine minutes to play in the half.
Peterson would break the four-minute scoring drought with a lay-up as the Beavers chipped away at the SDSU advantage netting 12 of the next 18 points to not only catch the Jackrabbits, but to bound back into the lead, 24-23, on a Melissa Roberts (So., F, Staples, Minn.) jumper with 2:52 to play in the half.
SDSU would go into the locker rooms at the break clinging to a 31-27 lead after scoring eight of the final 10 points of the half.
As the final 20 minutes got underway, the teams battled for momentum with the SDSU lead hovering around five points.
After a Oistad lay-up put the Jackrabbits up 43-34, again Lawson sparked the BSU offense with a lay-up followed by a steal. A Karlee Simonson (Jr., F, Rockford, Minn.) hoop followed by a back-to-back three-pointers by Heidi Matzke (So., G, Red Lake Falls, Minn.) and McConkey knotted the game at 44-44 with 12:18 to go. But that was all the Beavers could muster as the Jacks would build an eighth-point lead (57-49) during the next three minutes and scored nine straight to cap a 16-2 run to end any thoughts BSU had of haunting the Jackrabbits on this night.
The win continues SDSU's dominance over the Beavers in the all-time series. Since the rivalry got its start during the 1993-94 season, the Jackrabbits have defeated BSU in each of the 15 meetings.
The Beavers continue exhibition play Saturday when they travel to Fargo, N.D. to battle NCAA Division I North Dakota State University in a 6 p.m. contest. The Beavers officially get their season underway Nov. 17-18 when they draw Augustana College and Minnesota State University in the Pepsi Tip Off hosted by MSU in Mankato, Minn.