BSU Riding Three-Game Winning Streak; Host #1 SDSU
Friday, December 6, 2002
Friday, Dec. 6    #1 South Dakota State& 7:00 p.m.
& Played at BSU Gymnasium

The last time BSU recorded a 4-1 mark five games into the season was the 1986-87 season. Bemidji State has started 3-2 five times since that season with the last one being during the 1999-2000 season. Having a home-opener in the fifth game of the season is the latest since BSU played St. Cloud State (12/3/96) in its sixth game on the home hard-wood.

At the Comfort Inn “On the Beach” Thanksgiving Classic in Miami Shores, Fl., this past weekend, Bemidji State defeated Lees-McRae (N.C.), 58-55 and host-school Barry (Fl), 78-70. At Bresnan Arena in Mankato, Minn., BSU came back from a nine point deficit in the second half, scoring 16 of the game’s final 20 points to take a 67-59 affair against Minnesota State-Mankato on Wednesday night.

Stacia Swanson and Amber Graf were named to the Comfort Inn “On the Beach” Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament Team...The last time BSU won three in a row dates back to the 1998-99 season with victories over Morningside, South Dakota & UM-Crookston, Dec. 4, 5, 9, 1998....The Beavers have opened up the 2002-03 campaign with a 3-1 road record, the last time that occurred dates back to the start of the 1990-91 season...In helping BSU win two down in Florida, Swanson was named the NSIC Co-Player of the Week as she tallied 37 points, 15 rebounds and 10 steals...The contest between MSU-Mankato and BSU was postponed for Wednesday as BSU was snowed-in on Monday in Chicago - the team was traveling back from its trip to Florida over the Thanksgiving break.

Entering the 2002-03 campaign, junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.) is primed to continue her play from last season. League coaches have taken notice of her as well as she is a 2002-03 preseason “Player to Watch.” Graf leads the BSU returners with 12 double-digit point efforts in 20 games last campaign and was tops on the squad in free throws made (48), free throw percentage (.800) and points per game (10.6). In the conference, she ranked 18th in ppg and 19th in rebounding per contest (4.9) in all games played. A transfer from the U.S. Naval Academy, Graf went six consecutive contests with 10+ points last season and against Minnesota-Morris (1-11-02), she tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds for her first career double-double. In addition, Graf established a school single-game record for accuracy with a five-for-five performance behind the arc against Winona State (1-18-02).

This season, Graf tallied 13 points on 6-12 shooting in her junior debut against St. Cloud State (11-23). Graf has reached double-digits in scoring in all four games this season including a career-best 24 against MSU-Mankato (12-4-02). So far, she hold the scoring lead with a 16.3 ppg.

Senior guard Crystal Jones (Side Lake, Minn.) will return as the leader on the court this season as she was voted on by her teammate’s as team captain. Last season, Jones led the squad twice in points and tallied double-digits in points on ten occasions. Jones opened up the season by scoring 10+ in three of the first four contests and was second on the squad with 22 three-point field goals made and 24 total steals. In addition, BSU was 3-0 when she grabbed seven or more boards. Jones takes her hard work beyond the hard wood as seen her 4.0 grade point average she maintained both semesters last year.

The senior captain has provided some invaluable leadership this season. Jones leads the team in made three-pointers (4), second in offensive rebounds (9) and tied for second with eight steals. She went for a season-high 13 points in the win over Barry (FL) on Nov. 30, 2002.

What a debut! In the season-opener against St. Cloud State (11-23), sophomore forward Stacia Swanson (Sioux City, Iowa) hit for 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Metro State (CO) University transfer shot 6-15 from the floor, 5-5 from the free throw line, had three steals and an assist. Swanson had a double-double by halftime (10 points-10 rebounds).

As if that was not good enough, Swanson notched 37 points, 15 rebounds, 10 steals and four assists in the two wins down in Florida. Her performances earned her NSIC Co-Player of the Week accolades for Nov. 25. Then in a sub-par effort by her standards, she posted 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in teh 67-59 win over MSU-Mankato (12-4-02).

Six players are recognized thus far among the league leaders in stats through all games played (through Dec. 5): Stacia Swanson is first in steals per game (4.33), second in rebounds per game (10.0), third in points per game (18.0), eighth in field goal % (.500 - 22-44 FG) and 17th in free throw % (.667 - 8-12 FT); Amber Graf is tied for ninth in blocks per game (0.67), 13th in points per game (13.7) and 14th in free throw % (.727 - 8-11 FT); Kristy Caviness is tied for 12th in steals per game (1.67) and 16th in assists per game (2.67); Melissa Bessler is tied for fifth in blocks per game (1.00); Christi Goodhart is 12th in assists per game (3.00) and Crystal Jones is fifth in steals per game (2.33).

The Beavers are looking to break a winless streak against the Jackrabbits in the all-time series. Both squads have played consecutively since the 1991 season. The last meeting, a 89-52 SDSU win last November, saw the Beavers shoot 19-50 (38.0%) from the field and turn the ball over 33 times. The average margin of victory for South Dakota State has been 21 points.

In All-Time Series...
BSU Largest Margin of Victory:    --
SDSU Largest Margin of Victory:    30 (L, 95-65, 11/18/94)
BSU Highest Scoring Output:    79 (L, 96-79, 11/19/93)
SDSU Highest Scoring Output:    96 (L, 96-79, 11/19/93)
BSU Lowest Scoring Output:    45 (L, 73-45, 12/30/92)
SDSU Lowest Scoring Output:    68 (L, 68-66, 12/12/92)

vs. #1 South Dakota State (4-0, 0-0 NCC)
North Central Conference member SDSU is coming off a tournament championship at the UNK Holiday Inn/Captain’s Table Thanksgiving Tournament last weekend. Tournament MVP Melissa Pater hit 9-of-11 field goal attempts and scored 21 points as South Dakota State defeated Nebraska-Kearney 82-59.

SDSU dominated in the post, scoring 48 of its points in the paint and out-rebounding UNK 45-28. The Jacks also shot 59 per cent (33-63) while holding UNK to a 37 per cent effort (22-59).

It was only the third home court loss of the UNK women since 1995 (100-3), and the Jackrabbit victory margin (23) was the largest since Lopers lost to West Texas State 85-59 on March 1, 1992.

Pater paces SDSU with a 22.0 ppg average and a 6.5 rpg average. Brenda Davis (15.0 ppg), Heather Sieler (11.3 ppg) and Shannon Schlagel (11.0 ppg) round out the double digit scorers. South Dakota State has averaged 33 points in each of its four victories.

Head coach Aaron Johnston is beginning his third season and maintains a 51-23 record at the program. The Jackrabbits ended 2001-02 with a 28-9 record and tied for second in the NCC with a 12-6 mark.

Mike Power has a long history of resurrecting basketball programs with losing traditions into winners. The first-year coach comes here after a four-year stay at Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colo. where he posted a 56-52 record, setting a school record for best winning percentage by a head coach in his first two years (.636). Power’s teams finished in the top seven in the 14-team Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference three of his four years at the helm, making the RMAC Tournament three times.

Prior to his stay at Metro State, Power resurrected the Briar Cliff College program in Sioux City, Iowa. Power inherited an 0-29 team and in six seasons there posted a 127-73 record - including 93-17 over his final three seasons - and made three consecutive NAIA Division II National Tournament appearances. He led the Chargers to Elite Eight appearances in 1996 and 1997. Power’s teams posted two consecutive 30-win seasons at Briar Cliff, a 37-1 march in 1996-’97 which included a school-record 32-0 unbeaten regular season and a 37-0 record before suffering the first loss, and 31-4 in 1997-’98. Power developed three All-America players at Briar Cliff and won three consecutive NAIA Independent Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors.

Power also turned around a program with a losing history during a three-year stay at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb. After a 5-20 finish during his first year at the helm, Power had built a program with a winning record by his third year when the Prairie Wolves finished 15-11. Under Power’s watch, Wesleyan led the nation (NCAA Division III) in scoring during the 1990-’91 season and also led the nation in three-point field goals per game in both 1989-’90 and 1990-’91.

Power also has experience coaching at the high school level, spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Pius X High School in Lincoln, Neb. from 1985-’88 and one year as head coach and physical education teacher at Gothenburg High School in Gothenburg, Neb. in 1991-’92.

The eighth head coach in the history of BSU women’s basketball earned a bachelor of science degree in social science from the University of Nebraska in 1988 and a master of physical education from Nebraska in 1994.

Walking the sidelines with Power will be first-year assistant Amanda Went, second-year graduate assistants Jason Sobolik and Paul Brunsdon.

In the three BSU wins this season, the Beavers have given themselves a legitimate shot of winning in the second half based on the halftime scores. Twice, the Beavers went into the intermission with a lead, albeit slim ones at one and two points, and once trailed by a mere two points to Lees-McRae. The second half has seen the Beavers outscore their opponents by a total of 17 points - five to LMC, six to Mankato and seven to Barry.

One glaring statistic that favors the green and white is turnover differential. BSU forced 31 vs. Lees-McRae, 23 against Barry and 24 at Mankato for a total of 78 while committing 55 themselves. Opposing teams are frustrated due to the full-court trapping defense that coach Power has installed while having an 11 player rotation.

Looking at BSU’s first nine non-conference opponents of the season, four are recognized in the national or regional polls from a season ago. South Dakota State will visit Bemidji after the Beavers travel to the Barry University Tournament and to North Central Conference programs St. Cloud State and MSU-Mankato. SDSU posted a 28-9 overall record in 2001-02 and finished third in the final edition of the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II Women’s Basketball Poll. The next test will come Dec. 14th at Michigan Tech, which was 10th in the final Great Lakes Region poll last season. A week later, the University of North Dakota will be the opponent in Grand Forks as the Fighting Sioux were 12th in the final national poll.

As far as the NSIC is concerned, the Beavers will have to face the 2001-02 NSIC regular season champions in Southwest State on the road in the conference-opening weekend. To make things just as difficult, BSU has to travel to UM-Duluth and Northern State in mid-January before both programs come to Bemidji. Both squads finished with a 13-5 conference slate, which tied Concordia-St. Paul for second in the league. The Golden Bears are the only team from the top four conference finishers from last season that Bemidji State has the luxury of hosting first.

“We play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the league,” Power said. “We have to go to North Dakota and Michigan Tech, which right there will be in the top five in the country. Then, we play the team that won our region (South Dakota State) last year, who has everybody back for our first game at home.”

According to the 2002-03 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll, the Beavers were chosen ninth with 31 votes in the preseason coaches poll. The league’s champion from last season in Southwest State was narrowly picked as the top team with 85 votes. BSU ended ninth in the NSIC as it went 3-15 in league play last season.

Concordia-St. Paul was second (84), Minnesota-Duluth third (77), Northern State fourth (62), MSU Moorhead fifth (56), Wayne State (Neb.) sixth (48), Minnesota-Crookston seventh (43), Winona State eighth (36) and Minnesota-Morris rounding out the list (18). Both SSU, which is #10 in the Women’s Division II Bulletin Preseason Top 25, and C-SP, which received five first-place votes, are recognized on the national level.

As far as the NSIC is concerned, the Beavers will have to face Southwest State on the road in the conference-opening weekend, Dec. 29. To make things just as difficult, BSU has to travel to UM-Duluth and Northern State in mid-January before both programs come to Bemidji. Both squads finished with a 13-5 conference slate, which tied Concordia-St. Paul for second in the league. The Golden Bears are the only team from the top four conference finishers from last season that Bemidji State has the luxury of hosting first.

The BSU Gymnasium, which seats 2,200, was originally constructed in 1959. Almost a year of work came to fruition as the physical education complex, the all-encompassing building that houses the BSU Gymnasium, was dedicated on January 4, 1960 by Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman in front of a packed crowd. This large building contains the gym, a swimming pool, classrooms and faculty offices.

The BSU Gymnasium hosts all Bemidji State University volleyball matches, men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as area high school playoff games. In addition, there are events ranging from concerts and recitals to faculty meetings and commencement ceremonies that take place there.

Not only does it house an array of activities, but perhaps more importantly it gives a distinct “home-court” advantage for the athletic squads that use it. BSU fans and boosters of all ages are regularly seen sporting the green and white colors in peculiar styles.

All tickets for BSU home events can be purchased at the gate or by calling 218-755-2045. Ticket prices are as follows: $5 general admission, $2 senior citizens/non-BSU students, $1 under-12 and BSU students with valid ID are free.

Voice of the Beavers Shaun Michaels returns for his fourth year behind the mic as Bemidji State continues its broadcast agreement with R.P. Broadcasting of Bemidji. Michaels, who also hosts the morning show on Real Country 98.3, provides the Beavers with one of the most enthusiastic young radio voices in college athletics today. Brian Bisonette provides expert analysis and color commentary.
KKBJ is scheduled to provide live coverage of select Beaver women’s basketball games and also will have broadcasts available for any potential post-season contests. Mark your calenders for three contests to be aired on KKBJ: Dec. 20 vs. St. Cloud State, Jan. 3 vs. UM-Crookston and Jan. 4 vs. MSU Moorhead. The SCSU contest will be begin at 6:00 p.m. while the other two start at 5:30 p.m.

Additionally, these game broadcasts will be streamed live over the Internet via KKBJ’s web site. Broadcasts are available to Windows, Macintosh and UNIX computer users and are distributed in RealAudio format (requires RealOne player, available as a free download at
For more information or to listen to the Internet audio broadcasts, point your web browser to:

Internet listeners should be aware that server limitations allow only 120 concurrent listeners to BSU’s audio broadcasts. Internet audio broadcasts do not begin until approximately five minutes prior to the scheduled starting time of the pre-game show.