Beavers Garner First NSIC Win On The Season
Tuesday, January 7, 2003
Jan. 7, 2003

Saturday, Jan. 11    @ Minnesota-Duluth& 1:00 p.m.
& NSIC contest

Bemidji State (5-8, 1-3) grabbed its fifth win of the season on Friday with a 93-70 drubbing of UM-Crookston. Last season, it took 26 games to accomplish that statistic - Friday’s contest was BSU’s 12th. Currently, BSU is seventh in the league with its 1-3 mark.

After a pair of NSIC wins over MSU-Moorhead and Minnesota-Crookston, Minnesota-Duluth (10-2, 3-1) is tied for third in the league with a 3-1 record. It is one game back of Wayne State (NE) in the standings.

Bemidji State 93, UM-Crookston 70 - Friday, Jan. 3
Behind the strength of five players in double figures led by the career-high 22 points by senior guard Katie Long (Mason City, Iowa), Bemidji State notched its first NSIC victory for head coach Mike Power as it over-powered Minnesota-Crookston (4-7, 0-2), 93-70 at the BSU Gymnasium. The Beavers held the Golden Eagles scoreless for nearly three minutes to begin the second half and scored 15 unanswered points to finish a 35-7 run over a span of 8:32. All 11 Beavers scored as sophomore forward Stacia Swanson (Sioux City, Iowa) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and contributed 15 points and four steals. Senior guard Christi Goodhart (Manteca, Calif.) netted a season-high 14 points while junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.) had 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals and sophomore forward Melissa Bessler (Lake George, Minn.) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11 in 16 minutes of action. BSU forced 29 turnovers and held a 19-8 advantage from the free throw line.

MSU Moorhead 70, Bemidji State 68 - Saturday, Jan. 4
MSU, Moorhead (5-7, 2-1) used a 14-6 run at the start of the second half and a free throw a piece by Jackie Doerr and Dana Weibel in the final :22 seconds was the difference as the Dragons defeated the Beavers, 70-68 at the BSU Gymnasium. BSU led by as many as 10 in the second half and held a 64-56 advantage with 5:49 remaining but then MSU Moorhead went on a 14-4 run to close out the conference contest. The score was tied at 68-68 at :28 seconds after a jumper by Swanson but Doerr was fouled on the in-bounds and the Dragon guard was sent to the foul line where she hit one of two. BSU got the ball back but turned the ball over with :06 seconds remaining. From there, Weibel hit one of her two foul shots for the two-point win. Swanson led all scorers with 21 points, which tied a career-high. Bessler complimented Swanson as she tied a personal-best with 14 points on five of 10 shooting, including a career-best three three-point field goals. Graf snatched a season-high 10 boards to lead all players as she also added nine points. The visitors shot 51.0 percent from the floor but turned the ball over 17 times. BSU had a season-low 10 turnovers.

PROBABLE STARTERS (based on previous game’s lineup)
Bemidji State (5-8, 1-3 NSIC)    Minnesota-Duluth (10-2, 3-1 NSIC)
#20 Christi Goodhart    G    5-8    Sr.    #21 Tasha Martin    G    5-8    So.
#32 Crystal Jones    G    5-7    Sr    #35 Jessica Berglund    G    6-0    Jr.
#34 Amber Graf    C    6-1    Jr.    #41 Katie Pavlich    G    5-3    Jr.
#33 Stacia Swanson F 5-11 So.    #25 Kim Toewe    F    6-1    Sr.
#42 Melissa Bessler F 5-11 So.    #55 Lindsey Dietz    F    6-0    Fr.

On Friday, the 23 points is the largest margin of victory for the Beavers since they wiped out Minnesota-Morris, 86-52, Feb. 16, 2002...The 93 points scored by BSU is the most since it got 95 in the 95-66 win over Morningside, Nov. 20, 1999...The 47.1 percent from the floor was second-best on the season for Bemidji State...The 20 assists for Bemidji State was a season-high...Amber Graf had her double-digit scoring streak stopped at 12 games as she narrowly missed it with nine in the contest vs. MSU-Moorhead...Bemidji State was 4-0 prior to Saturday’s game when leading at halftime this season - BSU was up 30-28 at intermission...That was the third game in 2002-03 that Bemidji State has shot better than 44.0 percent from the field...With the Dragons going 51.0 percent from the floor, it was the sixth straight game that a BSU opponent has been over 44.0 percent...By winning its conference home opener on Friday, BSU snapped a four-game drought in that category...The five steals on the part of Crystal Jones is tied for the fifth highest output in the conference this season.

The Beavers began NSIC play before the start of the 1993-94 season as the Northern Sun (women’s league) and the Northern Intercollegiate (male’s league) merged. All-time in the league, BSU maintains a 47-93 (.336) mark with a 20-52 (.278) record away from Bemidji. At their home gym, the Beavers are 27-41 (.397) in league play.

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 11 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. Graf has topped the 20+-point barrier three times this season and had her 12-game scoring streak of at least 10 points stopped against MSU Moorhead (1-4) when she had nine.

So far this season, she holds the scoring lead on the team with 15.9 points per game, free throws made (45) and blocks (10), and is second in rebounding (5.0) and free throw percentage (.804 - 45/56). Graf has topped the club in points in seven games this season including a team-best 24 against MSU-Mankato (12-4).

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 leads the club in assists (25) and is second on the team in made three-pointers (11) and steals (28) and third in offensive rebounds (25). She matched a career-high of 15 points in the contest against Southwest State (12-29) as she went five-for-seven (.716) from the field. She also hit for the same clip from the field in the BSU win over Barry (FL) on Nov. 30, 2002 as she posted 13 points. The percentage mark is a team-high on the season. Jones has led or tied for the team lead three times in steals and assists for a single game. She had a season-high five steals against MSU Moorhead (1-4).

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 (8.2 rpg), minutes a game (30.3) and steals (40 - 3.00 spg) and second in field goal percentage (.462 - 73/158) and scoring (13.8 ppg). She stands first in the league with 3.00 steals a game and third with her rebounding average. Swanson has either led or tied for the team high nine times in rebounds and steals, including five of the last seven contests, 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 zero-for-three shooting. Since then, she has been in the starting line-up in all 12 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). In the conference home opener vs. UM-Crookston (1-3), Bessler went for 11 points, her fifth 10+ scoring effort of her career. The next night against MSU Moorhead (1-4), Bessler tied a personal-best with 14 points as she hit for three tri-fectas, which was also a career-high. Among her teammates, she is third in rebounding with 3.8 per game and fifth with a 6.5 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

Through all games played through Jan. 4th, the Beavers stand in the top-five in the NSIC in one category: first in free throw percentage with a .772 clip (142-184). Also, BSU has six players that are in the top-30 in either steals or blocks including the league leader (Swanson) in steals per game as she averages 3.00 thefts a game.

Seven players are recognized thus far among the league leaders in stats through all games played (through Jan. 4): Stacia Swanson is first in steals per game (3.00), third in rebounds per game (8.1), tied for ninth in blocks per game (0.75), 11th in points per game (13.9), and 13th in field goal percentage (.483 - 70/145); Amber Graf is fifth in points per game (15.4), sixth in free throw percentage (.811 - 43/53), tied for ninth in blocks per game (0.75), 18th in rebounds per game (5.2) and tied for 25th in steals per game (1.25); Kristy Caviness is tied for 25th in steals per game (1.25) and tied for 30th in assists per game (1.83); Melissa Bessler is tied for 14th in blocks per game (0.50); Christi Goodhart is 25th in steals per game (1.25) and tied for 28th in assists per game (2.00); Crystal Jones is sixth in steals per game (2.25) and tied for 30th in assists per game (1.83); and Katie Long is tied for seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.400 - 12/30).

ALL-TIME SERIES: vs. Minnesota-Duluth 26-46
The Beavers are looking to snap a 21-game losing streak to the Bulldogs with their last win coming Feb. 11, 1992. The lost 20 losses have been by at least 10 points. In the last meeting, UM-D shot 57.4 percent with BSU going 40.0 percent and turning the ball over 27 times. Melissa Bessler had a team-high 12 points on four of six shooting.
In All-Time Series...
BSU Largest Margin of Victory:    40 (65-25, 2/3/71)
UM-D Largest Margin of Victory:    42 (85-43 (1/5/02)
BSU Highest Scoring Output:    88 2x (W, 88-53 2/15/83; W, 88-88-69, 2/11/87)
UM-D Highest Scoring Output:    96 (W, 96-67, 2/3/01)
BSU Lowest Scoring Output:    33 (L, 50-33, 1970)
UM-D Lowest Scoring Output:    25 (L, 65-25, 2/3/71)

vs. Minnesota-Duluth (10-2, 3-1 NSIC)
Head coach Karen Stromme has spent all 18 seasons at UM-D as she enters her 19th campaign with a 375-159 (.702) overall mark. The Bulldogs have taken nine out of their last 10 games including a 58-56 win over MSU-Moorhead on Friday and Minnesota-Crookston, 92-55 the following night. UM-D has lost to Incarnate Word (TX), 55-53 and league-leader Wayne State, 79-58.

All five Bulldog starters maintain a double-digit scoring average with Kim Toewe leading the way with 17.1 points per game. Her output is good for second in the league as well as her block total (15) and rebounding average (8.6). Lindsey Dietz, who is tops in the NSIC with a 61.3 percentange from the floor and fourth with a 15.7 points per game average, adds 6.1 rebounds per game. Tasha Martin and Jessica Berglund each pour in 10.3 points per game while Katie Pavlich get 10.2 per game.

UM-D stands first in the conference with its 47.1 percent shooting mark from the field but shoots just 68.0 percent from the free throw line, which is ninth. It holds a +12.8 scoring margin as it ranks third in the NSIC with a 75.0 points per game scoring average. Only three of its 10 victories this season have been by less than eight points while those other seven have been by an average of 22 points.

(1st Year at BSU, 5-8 (.385); 14th Year Overall, 218-178 (.551))
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, who notched his first victory as a Beaver against Lees-McRae (11/29), will be first-year assistant Amanda Went, second-year graduate assistants Jason Sobolik and Paul Brunsdon.

In the five BSU wins this season, the Beavers have given themselves a legitimate shot of winning in the second half based on the halftime scores. Four times, the Beavers went into the intermission with a lead, albeit slim ones at one, two, four 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, 12 to Finlandia and 19 to UM-Crookston.

One glaring statistic that favors the green and white is turnover differential. Currently, the Beavers are +0.84 in that category. BSU has forced at least 20 turnovers in those same games: 31 vs. Lees-McRae, 23 against Barry, 24 at Mankato, 20 vs. Finlandia and 29 vs. UM-Crookton for a total of 127 while committing 90 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 169 (13.0 per game) steals on the season while the opposing teams have 118 (9.1 per game) as BSU holds a +3.9 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 faced the 2001-02 NSIC regular season champions in Southwest State, which was ranked #10 in the preseason national polls, on the road in the conference-opening weekend. In that contest, BSU got downed 76-55 (12/29). 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.

“ 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 women’s basketball games for the 2002-03 season. Three games are slated to be broadcast: Jan. 3, 4 & Feb. 15 with all games beginning at 5:30 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