Beavers Lose Two To St. Cloud State & #6 North Dakota
Sunday, December 22, 2002
Saturday, Dec. 28    @ Wayne State (NE)& 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29    @ Southest State& 5:30 p.m.
& NSIC contests

Bemidji State will begin its 11th Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference season by traveling to Wayne State (NE) and Southwest State this weekend. All-time in the league, BSU maintains a 46-90 mark with a 20-50 record away from Bemidji. At their home gym, the Beavers are 26-40 in league play.

The two games against WSC and SSU mark the latest in the month of December that BSU has begun conference action since the 1998-99 campaign. That season saw the Beavers play Northern State and Winona State on Jan. 9 and 13 on the road.

Bemidji State 67, St. Cloud State 71 - Friday, Dec. 20
Despite going on a 24-17 run in the final 16:44 of the game, Bemidji State lost a thriller to St. Cloud State (4-6, 0-0 NCC), 71-67 at the BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers were up 67-64 with 1:07 left on the clock, but SCSU’s Katie Huschle hit consecutive three-pointers to send her team to the win. BSU could only muster a three-point attempt in the final minute and was held scoreless. Bemidji State got out-shot at the free-throw line, 9 of 11 compared to SCSU’s 21 of 26. Junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.) led three Beavers in double-figures with 16 points.

Bemidji State 58, #6 North Dakota 86 - Saturday, Dec. 21
Behind a 38-12 run to close out the first half, #6 North Dakota (9-1, 0-0 NCC) held a 49-25 advantage at halftime en route to an 86-58 victory over Bemidji State at the Hyslop Arena. UND dominated the boards with 45 compared to 27 on the part of the Beavers and also doubled up BSU in free throws (24-12). Graf once again led BSU with 17 points as she has led the club in scoring in the past three contests and five out of the last six.

In seven of the nine contests, Stacia Swanson has led the club in rebounds and four times in scoring - Swanson snapped her streak of at least 10 points as she tallied nine on Friday night...Amber Graf has been in double-figures for all nine games this season after netting 17 tonight to pace the Beavers on Saturday...Before the loss to St. Cloud State on Friday, the last six losses to the Huskies were by an average margin of 20 points - The last Beaver win in the series was Dec. 3, 1996...BSU is searching for that fifth win, which was last season’s total - (continued on page two)

PROBABLE STARTERS (based on previous game’s lineup)
Bemidji State (4-3, 0-0 NSIC)    Wayne State (NE) (6-3, 0-0 NSIC)
#20 Christi Goodhart    G    5-8    Sr.    #10 Dodie Martin    G    5-7    Sr.
#32 Crystal Jones    G    5-7    Sr    #32 Lesley Menken    G    5-7    Sr.
#34 Amber Graf    C    6-1    Jr.    #55 Rochelle Sohl    C    6-1    So.
#33 Stacia Swanson F 5-11 So.    #34 Karen Hochstein    F    6-0    Sr.
#42 Melissa Bessler F 5-11 So.    #24 Tracy Williamson    F    5-11    Sr.

Southwest State (8-3, 0-0 NSIC)
#14 Mary Roddel    G    5-7    Jr.
#20 Regan French    G    5-8    So.
#44 Lorrie Grems    C    5-11    Sr.
#24 Michelle Bruns    F    5-10    So.
#30 Shelli Schoeneck    F    5-10    Sr.

it did not notch that fifth win till Feb. 23, 2002, 26 games into the season...The 86 points given up by BSU on Saturday is the most for an opponent this season and the most since UM-Duluth scored 89, Feb. 27, 2002...The win pushes the UND streak to 10 games in the overall series and has won the last seven meetings in Grand Forks.

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-for-12 shooting in her junior debut against St. Cloud State (11-23). Graf has reached double-digits in scoring in all nine games this season including a career-best 24 against MSU-Mankato (12-4) and she followed that up with 22 vs. #1 South Dakota State (12-6). In the two BSU wins over Lees-McRae (11-29) and Barry (11-30), Graf totaled 28 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to earn Comfort Inn “On the Beach” Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament honors. So far this season, she holds the scoring lead on the team with 16.8 points per game. Graf has topped the club in points in five games this season, including three straight. She holds the single-game high this season with her point total against Mankato.

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 the 2002-03 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.

This season, Jones is second on the team in made three-pointers (7) and steals (16) and tied for second in offensive rebounds (18). She went for a season-high 13 points in the win over Barry (FL) on Nov. 30, 2002 and also shot at a .714 clip (5 of 7), which is a BSU season-high. Jones has led or tied for the team lead twice in steals and twice in assists for a single game.

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-for-15 from the floor, 5-for-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. She was named to the Comfort Inn “On the Beach” Thanksgiving Classic All-Tournament squad and those 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 the 67-59 win over MSU-Mankato (12-4).

Swanson is first on the club this season in rebounding (8.6 rpg), minutes a game (30.8) and steals (30) and second in field goal percentage (.457 - 53/116) and scoring (14.4 ppg). She stands first in the league with 3.75 steals a game and second with her rebounding average. Swanson has either led or tied for the team high seven times in rebounds and four times in points in a single game. Swanson got her scoring streak of double-digit points snapped at eight games with nine points against St. Cloud State (12-20).

Sophomore forward Melissa Bessler (Lake George, Minn.) is in her second season in a Beaver uniform after leading the club in rebounding (5.1) last season. In 2001-02, led the team seven times in rebounding and notched BSU’s single game high for rebounds (16) in the 84-67 victory over Winona State on Feb. 23, 2002. That same game she tallied 14 points for her first career double-double.

This campaign has seen Bessler improve since the first game. In the season-opener against St. Cloud State (11-23), Bessler came off the bench and fouled out in nine minutes of action as she had one point on 0-for-3 shooting. Since then, she has been in the starting line-up in all six contests and tallied a personal-best 14 points in a season-high 32 minutes against MSU-Mankato (12-4). She followed that up with eight points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists vs. #1 South Dakota State (12-6). Going into this past weekend’s games, she was tops in the conference in blocks per game (1.50). Among her teammates, she is second in rebounding with 4.4 per game and fourth with a 6.0 scoring average.

Three BSU players have accrued double-doubles in points and rebounds in their careers. Melissa Bessler leads the way with two, one coming this season, while Amber Graf and Stacia Swanson have one apiece. The following is a list of the players (italics indicates the 2002-03 season):

Melissa Bessler (14 points-16 rebounds)    vs. Winona State, 2-23-02
Melissa Bessler (14 points-10 rebounds)    vs. MSU-Mankato, 12-4-02
Amber Graf (12 points-13 rebounds)    vs. UM-Morris, 1-11-02
Stacia Swanson (17 points-15 rebounds)    vs. St. Cloud State, 11-23-02

The Beavers are playing some pretty solid defense as evidence in their conference rankings in two important defensive categories (through Dec. 19). They sit third in field goal percentage defense (.404 - 136/337) and fourth in scoring defense (66.0 ppg). In addition, BSU’s mark of .724 (63/87) from the free throw line is fourth in the league. Also, BSU has six players that are in the top-20 in either steals or blocks including the league leader (Swanson) in steals per game as she averages 3.50 thefts a game.

Six players are recognized thus far among the league leaders in stats through all games played (through Dec. 19): Stacia Swanson is first in steals per game (3.50), third in rebounds per game (9.2), fifth in points per game (16.3), 11th in field goal percentage (.482 - 41/85) and tied for 16th in blocks per game (0.50); Amber Graf is sixth in points per game (16.0), tenth in free throw percentage (.778 - 21/27), tenth in blocks per game (0.83), 22nd in field goal percentage (.404 - 36/89) and tied for 26th in rebounds per game (4.5); Kristy Caviness is tied for 11th in steals per game (2.00) and tied for 17th in assists per game (2.50); Melissa Bessler is sixth in blocks per game (1.00), tied for 20th in steals per game (1.50) and 22nd in rebounds per game (4.8); Christi Goodhart is tied for 20th in steals per game (1.50) and tied for 28th in assists per game (2.00); and Crystal Jones is tied for 11th in steals per game (2.00).

ALL-TIME SERIES: vs. Wayne State 7-13 // vs. Southwest State 24-27
The last 10 meetings have gone in favor of the Wildcats including the most recent outing, which happened to be their largest margin of victory, 76-50 on Jan. 26, 2002. No Beaver scored more than eight points and shot 36.0 percent (18-for-50) from the floor. Wayne State was 13-for-22 from three-point range compared to BSU’s 2 of 12.
In All-Time Series...
BSU Largest Margin of Victory:    40 (107-67, 2/1/97)
WSC Largest Margin of Victory:    26 (76-50, 1/26/02)
BSU Highest Scoring Output:    107 (W, 107-67, 2/1/97)
WSC Highest Scoring Output:    90 (W, 90-76, 1/19/01)
BSU Lowest Scoring Output:    48 (L, 68-48, 2/21/98)
WSC Lowest Scoring Output:    64 (W, 64-63, 2/4/95)

The Beavers will attempt to snap a nine-game skid against the Mustangs. The last BSU win was Feb. 25, 1998 in a 70-69 affair as that capped a four-game Beaver winning streak. The Beavers shot a season-low 28.6 percent from the field and turned the ball over 29 times.
In All-Time Series...
BSU Largest Margin of Victory:    51 (99-48, 2/7/87)
SSU Largest Margin of Victory:    49 (79-30, 2/23/01)
BSU Highest Scoring Output:    103 (W, 103-93, 2/28/97)
SSU Highest Scoring Output:    93 3x, most recently (W, 93-78, 2/23/99)
BSU Lowest Scoring Output:    30 (L, 79-30, 2/23/01)
SSU Lowest Scoring Output:    45 (L, 63-45, 2/1/85)

vs. Wayne State (NE) (6-3, 0-0 NSIC)
Head coach Ryun Williams is in his fifth season as head coach at Wayne State College. Williams has compiled the third highest winning percentage in Wildcat history, .591. In his first year with the Wildcats, Williams compiled a 15-12 record, which was the program’s first winning campaign in four years. In just his second season, Williams guided the Wildcats to a 19-9 record. Williams has compiled a 68-47 record in his fifth season at the helm of the Wildcats.

Dodie Martin, voted the MVP of the Southwest Classic, leads the club in scoring with 16.7 points per game, and is also averaging 5.7 rebounds a contest. She is shooting 47.4 percent from the field, including 40.0 percent from three-point range. The guard also leads the team with 32 assists. Karen Hochstein is averaging 13.1 points per game and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game. Guard Ashley Arndorfer is contributing 8.0 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest.

The Wildcats were picked to finish sixth in the NSIC preseason polls after a 12-15 mark a season ago and taking seventh. On Friday, Wayne State battled St. Mary’s and notched its fourth victory in five games, 74-46. Of its six wins, Wayne State has won by an average margin of 23 points with two of those being by 28 and 38 points.

vs. Southwest State (8-3, 0-0 NSIC)
Kelly Kruger is entering his twelfth year at the helm of the Mustang women’s basketball program. Kruger led his team to their second consecutive NSIC title and an NSIC Tournament Championship in the 2001-02 season. Last year, Kruger’s team posted their third consecutive 20-win season and received their second straight bid to the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament. and advanced to the “Sweet 16” for the first time in school history. Kruger has tallied a 188-132 record while at SSU and has an overall record of 278-204 in 17 seasons of head coaching.

The Mustangs, which were ranked #10 in the Division II Bulletin Preseason Polls, were picked to win the league crown in the NSIC preseason polls. Michelle Bruns paces Southwest State with 16.7 points per game and 52 assists. She also knocks down 64.4 percent (29 of 45) of her three-point field goals and is second with 5.8 rebounds per game. Mary Roddel hits on 95.0 percent (38 of 40) of her free throw attempts and trails Bruns and Shelli Schoeneck (14.2 ppg) in scoring with 12.2 per contest.

This past Friday, SSU wrapped up its nonconference portion of the 2002-03 season with an encounter at #14 South Dakota. The Mustangs came back from a 40-25 halftime deficit to take down the Coyotes, 75-69. Bruns netted 26 points for her fourth 20+ point effort on the season.

(1st Year at BSU, 4-5 (.444); 14th Year Overall, 217-175 (.554))
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 four BSU wins this season, the Beavers have given themselves a legitimate shot of winning in the second half based on the halftime scores. Three times, the Beavers went into the intermission with a lead, albeit slim ones at one, two and six points, and once trailed by a mere two points to Lees-McRae (11/29). The second half has seen the Beavers outscore their opponents by at least five points - five to LMC, six to Mankato, seven to Barry and 12 to Finlandia.

One glaring statistic that favors the green and white is turnover differential. Currently, the Beavers are +3.7 in that category. BSU has forced at least 20 turnovers in those same games: 31 vs. Lees-McRae, 23 against Barry, 24 at Mankato and 20 vs. Finlandia for a total of 98 while committing 70 themselves. Opposing teams are frustrated due to the full-court trapping defense that coach Power has installed while having an 11 player rotation. Overall, BSU has 120 (13.3 per game) steals on the season while the opposing teams have 79 (8.8 per game) as BSU holds a +4.5 advantage.

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 visited Bemidji (12/6). SDSU, which posted a 28-9 overall record in 2001-02 and was first in the preseason edition of the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II Women’s Basketball Poll, defeated BSU by a count of 85-67. The next test came Dec. 14th at Michigan Tech, which was 10th in the final Great Lakes Region poll last season. “Tech,” which was 3-3 at the time it played the Beavers, prevailed 72-57. A week later, the #6 University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux handed the Beavers its tenth straight loss in the series, 86-58.

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.

Fans will have an opportunity to watch live television broadcasts of select Beaver men’s basketball games for the 2002-03 season. Three more games in the season are slated to be broadcast: Jan. 3, 4 & Feb. 15 with all games beginning at 7:30 p.m. Join Scott Williams as he handles the play-by-play duties and color commentary provided by Kevin Drexel for exciting Beaver basketball.

All three of these broadcasts are scheduled to be shown on a tape-delay basis as well.