LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The Bemidji State University women’s basketball team defeated Viterbo University 71-66 in a nonconference game at the R.W. Beggs Senior Gymnasium in La Crosse, Wis., Thursday. Sophomore Sydney Epema (G, Crookston, Minn.) tallied a team-high 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point land. The victory against the V-Hawks gives BSU a three-game winning streak and keeps the Beavers perfect on the road in 2009-10 at a 4-0 mark.
“We shot the ball well, but didn’t play as sharp as we have been,” said head coach Mike Curfman. “It was good to get a win, especially on the road, despite not playing our best. It was great to get a lot of players some minutes and each player scored, so hopefully that experience pays off down the road.”
Epema knocked down a 3-pointer on the Beavers’ (7-3, 2-2 NSIC) first possession of the game and it was all BSU for the rest of the first half. The Beavers had a lead as large as 12 with eight minutes remaining in the first frame, en route to a nine point lead at the half with a 38-29 advantage. BSU was able to keep a large lead through the first three minutes of the second half, but then the V-Hawks started flying. Viterbo went on a 13-5 run from the 17 minute mark to the half-way point of the frame to erase a 10 point deficit and turn it into a two point advantage - its first lead of the contest. But, the lead didn’t last long for the home team, as BSU tied the game just 14 second later with two free throws and followed that with creating a turnover that translated into a bucket from freshman Shannon Thompson (G, Rosemount, Minn.) that put the Beavers back on top. The lead quickly went from manageable to out-of-control for the V-Hawks as the Beavers took the next 2:11 to go on a 9-0 run get the lead back up to nine, thanks to the BSU bench that scored all but one point.
“That group did a very nice job shifting the momentum back to our side,” Curfman said. “He had a little bit of everything in the run, free throws, fastbreak lay-ups and hitting jumpers.”
Viterbo battled back to get the deficit to three with 4:21 remaining in the game, but Epema ended the game just like she started it with a 3-point dagger with 1:48 ticks on the clock to give BSU a eight point lead. The V-Hawks played the foul and quick 3-point shooting game and got the BSU lead down to three with 20 seconds left, but Viterbo would run out of time as freshman Katie Pettit (G, Howard Lake, Minn.) iced the game with two free throws that gave the Beavers a 71-66 lead that would stand as the final score.
Epema was 4-of-7 from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point land and 3-of-4 from the line. Freshman Jessie Althoff (C, Becker, Minn.) and junior Anna Hebrink (G, Austin, Minn.) each tallied 10 points, while Hebrink added a team-high five assists and four rebounds. Sophomore guard Samantha Baldwin (G, St. Thomas, N.D.) led the bench in scoring with eight points. The BSU bench scored 29 points in the win, outscoring the Viterbo bench by 20 points. The Beavers are now 7-2 when its bench scores equal or more points than their opponent. BSU hit 6-of11 3-point attempts and is now 7-2 when hitting at least five 3-pointers.
The Beavers host Minnesota State University Mankato in a nonconference game Dec. 19 at 3 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).