Lawson scores a career-best 29 points to push Beavers past No. 24 Wayne State, 76-68
WAYNE, Neb. (Rice Auditorium) -- When the Bemidji State University women's basketball team stepped onto the court at Rice Auditorium in Wayne, Neb. Friday evening it marked the second time in as many games that the Beavers looked to the opposite end of the court to see an undefeated, nationally-ranked opponent. But for the second straight game, BSU showed they were not intimidated by records or rankings and battled back to hand No. 24 Wayne State College its first loss of the season, 76-68, in the 2006-07 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opener.
The scenario read very much like the Beavers Nov. 25 win over No. 4 St. Cloud State. After a mediocre shooting effort in the first half, the Beavers found themselves down, this time by six (35-29), at the half. But the team came out in the second half to shoot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) and hit 82.4 percent of its free-throws (14-of-17) to outplay the Wildcats and claim the contest.
BSU was led by the junior duo if Amy Lawson (PG, Spencer, Iowa) and reigning NSIC Player of the Week Stephanie Peterson (C, Bismarck, N.D.) who each record a personal-best in the game. Lawson netted a career-high 29 points on 9-of-16 from the floor and was 10-for-13 from the free-throw line in the second half while Peterson continued on her torrid pace scoring 20 on an efficient 10-of-12 from the floor and grabbed a career-best 17 rebound to help BSU to a dominating 47-32 effort on the glass. Lawson also led all players and added to her league-best steal total with seven steals.
In addition, Heidi Matzke (So., G, Red Lake Falls, Minn.) dropped in 15 points and Karlee Simonson (Jr., F, Rockford, Minn.) grabbed a season-best eight rebounds.
Forward Erin McCormick paced Wayne State recording 22 points and 10 rebounds while Amanda Covington rallied for 20 points on 8-of-9 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Lauren Gustafson led all players with five assists and two blocks in the game.
The Wildcats led for all but 13 seconds of the first half. WSC came out of the blocks to net six points before BSU would even light their side of the scoreboard. But a six-point run by BSU would knot the game (6-6) nearly four minutes into the game.
During the next 10 minutes, Wayne State rattled off 19 of the next 25 points to put BSU in a 13-point hole with 7:58 to play in the half. With its back against the wall, BSU scratched and clawed its way back into the game holding the Wildcats scoreless from the floor during the next 5:17 while using a 17-2 run, sparked by eight points from Peterson and seven from Matzke, to take a 29-27 lead with just under three minutes to play before the halftime horn would sound.
BSU would fail to score in the final minutes in the half and would go into the break trailing WSC, 35-29.
During the opening minutes of the second stanza the teams traded baskets and although the Wildcats stretched their lead to as many as six points (47-41), the Beavers would fight back to take their first lead of the half (48-47) on a three-pointer by Lawson with 12:55 to play in the game.
Wayne State battled back to tie the game on two occasions, the Bemidji State would never trail again increasing their lead to as many as nine points (73-64) as Lawson was 6-of-8 form the line in the game's final 61 seconds to secure the 76-68 victory.
The win pulls the Beavers to 10-19 all-time versus Wayne State and marks the first victory over the Wildcats since a 68-60 win, Jan. 16, 2004--a streak spanning six games.
The Beavers (2-3;1-0 NSIC) look to even their season record to 3-3 tomorrow when the team is off to Marshall, Minn. and Southwest Minnesota State University. A win over the Mustangs would put BSU at 2-0 in conference play for just the seventh time in the 40-year history of the program and the first time since the team opened league competition with three wins during the 1995-96 campaign. Opening tip is slated for 6 p.m. at SMSU's R/A Facility.