Beaver Pride selects Epema and Bakala Players of the Week
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Beaver Pride selects Epema and Bakala Players of the Week

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University’s Sydney Epema (So., G, Crookston, Minn.) and Dan Bakala (So., G, Calgary, Alberta) have been named Beaver Pride Athletes of the Week after outstanding athletic performances during the week of Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.

Epema averaged 24.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in a 1-1 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference home weekend, falling to Augustana 82-65 before rebounding to beat Wayne State 83-79. She shot 56.0 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from beyond the arc and 88.9 percent from the free throw line on the weekend. She committed only three turnovers in the two games, playing an average of 32.5 minutes per game. In the win against Wayne State, Epema recorded career-highs for 3-pointers made (7) and points scored (29), going 8-of-12 from the field, 7-of-11 from 3-point land and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.

Epema’s selection for the athlete of the week award marks the fourth time this season a BSU women’s basketball player has garnered the award and the third time the sophomore guard has received the honor.

Bakala’s second Beaver Pride Athlete of the Week nod of 2009-10 comes on the heels of arguably the best weekend of his collegiate career. The sophomore posted back-to-back shutouts versus Western Michigan University to propel the No. 10 Beavers to a 1-0-1 road weekend and their 14th victory of the season. Bakala piled up 31 saves Saturday in a 0-0 overtime tie, matching a career-high for stops (31), in his second career shutout. He followed that with a 26-save, 3-0 blanking of the Broncos Sunday to become one of just three goaltenders in the nation to have at least 11 wins. He currently sits third in the country in goals against average (1.71) and fourth in save percentage (.937).

Bakala’s back-to-back shutouts are the first for a BSU goaltender since Matt Climie (2004-08) blanked Niagara and Ala.-Huntsville Nov. 3 and Nov. 9 of 2007, respectively. With three shutouts in his career, he sits tied with five other players for 10th on BSU’s career shutouts list.

Bakala becomes the sixth BSU men’s hockey player to be named Beaver Pride Athlete of the Week in 2009-10. In addition, he was named College Hockey America Defensive Player of Week the Monday.
The BSU women’s basketball team, 9-4 overall and 3-3 in NSIC play, hit the road this weekend to battle Concordia University-St. Paul Friday at 6 p.m. and St. Cloud State University Saturday at 4 p.m.

Bemidji State (14-4-2; 8-0-0) is in the midst of a week free from competition while preparing for a return to CHA play. Jan. 15-16, the Beavers travel to Lewiston, N.Y. for a league showdown with Niagara University (3-11-2; 1-3-1 CHA).