Defense Holds Tough For BSU In 62-44 Win Over FU
Friday, December 13, 2002
Dec. 13, 2002

Hancock, Mich. - At the Paavo Nurmi Center tonight, Bemidji State (4-2, 0-0 NSIC) out-rebounded Finlandia (MI) (6-7) 46-32 and held the hosts to 30.8 per cent (16-52) shooting for a 62-44 victory.

The game would start at a snail’s pace with the two teams combining for just four points in the first six minutes. 17 of the first 19 shots did not find the bottom of the net with BSU missing on 10 in that opening segment.

The Lions went up by a count of 5-2 at the 13:43 mark but that lead was short-lived and was their last for the entire game. BSU went on a 9-0 run, forcing FU into five turnovers in that span, to go up 11-5. That run was highlighted by two free throws and a jumper by sophomore forward Melissa Bessler (Lake George, Minn.). The Beavers would increase their cushion to 13 at 4:31 on a basket by junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.) but Finlandia scored nine out of the next 11 points to trail 23-17 heading into the locker room.

Finlandia hit on 6 of its first 12 shots to begin the second half, two of which were three-pointers, to tie the score at 33-33 with 13:58 remaining. But then BSU, starting with a turnaround by Graf, fired back with an 18-3 spurt and put the game out of reach. Bemidji State held the hosts scoreless for 5:26 during that span. It was fitting the game ended on a steal by senior guard Christi Goodhart (Manteca, Calif.) as that was one of BSU’s 20 for the contest.

Bemidji State, which won just five games all of last season, went 41.9 per cent from the floor including 7-14 from three-point land.

Graf complimented Stacia Swanson’s (Sioux City, Iowa) career-high of 21 points with 12 herself as she tied with Bessler for a game-high of three steals. Bessler also tied for the game-high in rebounds with nine and had eight points. Senior guard Crystal Jones (Side Lake, Minn.) added eight points as well with six of those coming by way of the tri-fecta.

Beth Koski was the lone player in double-figure scoring for Finlandia with 19 and had nine rebounds. Her four assists was a game-high. The next highest scorer was Debbie Wesa with nine.

Bemidji State stays in Michigan with a visit to Michigan Tech in Houghton, tomorrow afternoon. Tip-off is at 3:00 p.m. CST against the Huskies.

Notes: The 16 field goals that Finlandia hit for tonight was the lowest for a BSU opponent since the Beavers held Peru State to 16, Nov. 24, 2001...The 32 rebounds for FU was the lowest for a BSU opponent since Wayne State (NE) had 32 on Jan. 26, 2002...BSU’s defense limited the Lions to 44 points, which was the lowest since UM-Morris tallied 42, Jan. 5, 2000...Stacia Swanson and Amber Graf have tallied 10+ points in all six of their games as a Beaver this year...In outrebounding FU 46-32, that is the first time BSU has done that this season...BSU moves to 4-1 when having fewer turnovers than its opponents...The seven boards for Nikki Wright is a personal-best...The 4-2 mark to being the campaign is the best since BSU had the same record to start the 1995-96 season.