Beavers Lose One To Minnesota-Duluth On Saturday
Monday, January 13, 2003
Jan. 13, 2003

Friday, Jan. 17    @ Minnesota-Morris& 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18    @ Northern State& 5:30 p.m.
& NSIC contest

Bemidji State (5-9, 1-4) enters this weekend tied for eighth with Minnesota-Crookston in the league standings after dropping a 88-64 decision to Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday. The Beavers are just one-half game back of Northern State (4-10, 2-4) after the Wolves swept UM-C, 78-74 and MSU Moorhead, 82-75 for their first conference wins of the season.

Minnesota-Morris (1-13, 0-6) is looking to snap a nine-game losing streak as it stands at the bottom of the NSIC with its conference mark. The Cougars lost 92-66 to UM-C and 82-59 to MSU-M most recently.

Minnesota-Duluth 88, Bemidji State 64 - Saturday, Jan. 11
The Beavers could never get the margin within 20 points in the second half as the Bulldogs shot 65 percent (17 of 26) from the floor and ended the game at 62 percent (33 of 53) in the conference affair. A positive for BSU was keeping pace with UM-Duluth in the second frame as both teams scored 43 points. Senior guard Crystal Jones (Side Lake, Minn.) scored 10 of her career high 16 points in the second half and junior forward Amber Graf (Hammond, Wis.), who went for 15 points, scored 13 after intermission. Overall, sophomore forward Stacia Swanson(Sioux City, Iowa) tallied her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. BSU shot 42 percent (22 of 53) from the field and just two-for-10 from three-point range. The Beavers forced 28 Bulldog turnovers. UM-Duluth held a 35-22 rebounding edge against BSU and had 16 more assists (28-12) than the visitors.

The 62 percent shooting on behalf of the Bulldogs is the most the Beavers have given up this season by an opponent...Bemidji State has allowed its opponents to shoot 44.0 percent or better for seven straight games...The Beavers forced more turnovers on Saturday for the third straight game - BSU had 45 turnovers while its opponent have had 69 in that streak...The other double-double of Stacia Swanson’s career came vs. St. Cloud State in the season-opener, Nov. 23, 2002 when she got 17 points and 15 rebounds...Bemidji State falls to 1-8 when trailing at the half this season...In the overall series with UM-Duluth (continued on the next page).

PROBABLE STARTERS (based on previous game’s lineup)
Bemidji State (5-9, 1-4 NSIC)    Minnesota-Morris (1-13, 0-6 NSIC)
#20 Christi Goodhart    G    5-8    Sr.    #14 Danielle Mercurio    G    5-5    Fr.
#32 Crystal Jones    G    5-7    Sr    #35 Kay Saager    G    5-9    Fr.
#34 Amber Graf    C    6-1    Jr.    #15 Stacy Nordgren    F    6-0    Jr.
#33 Stacia Swanson F 5-11 So.    #34 Malinda Berglund    F    5-7    Fr.
#42 Melissa Bessler F 5-11 So.    #44 Carrie Ryan    F    5-10    Jr.

Northern State (4-10, 2-4 NSIC)
#21 Liza Sizer    G    5-8    So.
#34 Ali Chmielewski    G    5-8    Fr.
#41 Tia Michalski    C    6-4    Sr.
#31 Shana Theobald    F    5-11    Sr.
#41 Gina Golberg    F    5-9    Jr.

the Beavers have lost 22 straight...Yontel Handford had a career-high three steals and Amber Graf tied a personal-best with three...Graf has tallied doublie-digits in points in 13 of the 14 contests this season...Bemidji State has gone the last four games connecting on more free throws than its opponents and maintains the best mark in the league (.774) from the foul line.

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 47-94 (.333) mark with a 20-53 (.274) 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 13 of the 14 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 (46) and blocks (11), and is second in rebounding (4.9) and free throw percentage (.767 - 46/60). 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 is tied for first on the club in assists (25) and is second on the team in made three-pointers (11) and steals (30) and tied for third in offensive rebounds (26). She matched a career-high at the time 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. Most recently, Jones hit for a career-high of 16 points against Minnesota-Duluth (1-11) as she was six-for-six from the foul line. 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 (8.3), minutes a game (29.9) and steals (42 - 3.00 spg) and second in field goal percentage (.462 - 78/169) and scoring (13.9). She stands first in the league in 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 eight 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). Swanson got her second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds against Minnesota-Duluth (1-11).

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 (3.7) and blocks (7) and fifth with a 6.4 scoring average.

Three BSU players have accrued double-doubles in points and rebounds in their careers. Melissa Bessler and Stacia Swanson both have two apiece while Amber Graf has tallied one. 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
Stacia Swanson (14 points-10 rebound)    vs. UM-Duluth, 1-11-03

Through all games played through Jan. 11th, the Beavers stand in the top-five in the NSIC in one category: first in free throw percentage with a .774 clip (178/230). Also, BSU has five 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.

Five players are recognized thus far among the league leaders in stats through all games played (through Jan. 11): Stacia Swanson is first in steals per game (3.00), third in rebounds per game (8.3), sixth in free throw percentage (.795 - 35/44), 10th in points per game (13.9), tied for 12th in blocks per game (0.64) and 17th in field goal percentage (.462 - 78./169); Amber Graf is tied for fourth in points per game (15.9), ninth in free throw percentage (.767 - 46/60), 10th in blocks per game (0.79), tied for 14th in steals per game (1.50), 22nd in rebounds per game (4.9) and 23rd in field goal percentage (.409 - 83/203); Melissa Bessler is tied for 15th in blocks per game (0.50) and tied for 29th in steals per game (1.14); Christi Goodhart is tied for 23rd in steals per game (1.29) and tied for 30th in assists per game (1.79); and Crystal Jones is seventh in steals per game (2.14) and tied for 30th in assists per game (1.79).

ALL-TIME SERIES: vs. Minnesota-Morris 43-19 // vs. Northern State 6-29
The Beavers have totaled the most wins in school history against Minnesota-Morris than any other opponent with 43. The last seven meetings have gone in favor of the Beavers including the most recent one, Feb. 16, 2002 in a 86-52 win. Christi Goodhart grabbed a career-high eight rebounds and netted 20 points along with seven assists to lead the Beavers. BSU made a season-high 38 field goals while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor.
In All-Time Series...
BSU Largest Margin of Victory:    44 (92-48, 2/10/84)
UM-M Largest Margin of Victory:    25 (89-64, 1983)
BSU Highest Scoring Output:    93 (W, 93-62, 2/21/96)
UM-M Highest Scoring Output:    90 (W, 90-72, 1/11/92)
BSU Lowest Scoring Output:    28 (L, 30-28, 1973)
UM-M Lowest Scoring Output:    28 (L, 70-28, 1977)

The Wolves have taken 10 straight in the series with the last Beaver win coming Jan. 19, 1998 by a 80-76 count. In the losing streak, BSU has lost by an average margin of 24 points per game. Most recently, in the 87-70 NSU victory, Feb. 15, 2002, Bemidji State outshot the hosts, 46 percent to 43 percent, however the Wolves connected on 19 free throws compared to the seven by BSU. Goodhart had 13 points while Crystal Jones added 12.
In All-Time Series...
BSU Largest Margin of Victory:    25 (88-63, 2/14/86)
NSU Largest Margin of Victory:    40 (100-60, 2/7/98)
BSU Highest Scoring Output:    91 (W, 91-86, 1/10/87)
NSU Highest Scoring Output:    106 (W, 106-77, 2/9/91)
BSU Lowest Scoring Output:    38 (L, 77-38, 1/8/93)
NSU Lowest Scoring Output:    56 (L, 72-56, 1/27/96)

vs. Minnesota-Morris (1-13, 0-6 NSIC)
Head coach Jim Hall, who comes to Morris for his first season after four years in the collegiate coaching ranks, maintains a 55-53 (.509) overall record. In 2001-02, the Cougars went 0-27 with 18 of those losses coming in conference play.

Most recently, UM-Morris lost a pair of conference road games over the weekend. On Friday, Minnesota-Crookston downed the Cougars, 92-66 before MSU Moorhead dismantled UM-M, 82-59 on Saturday. The Cougars have now dropped nine straight after defeating Crown College, 56-40, Dec. 10, 2002.

Freshman Malinda Berglund, who is 14th in the NSIC in scoring, leads the club with 13.3 points per game and a 81 percent clip from the free throw line. Berglund also is second in steals (14), tied for second in rebounding (3.6) and third in assists (30). Danielle Mercurio chips in 11.9 points per contest and is the team’s top three point shooter as she hits on 41 percent (46 of 112) of her shots. The percentage is good for fifth in the league.

UM-Morris ranks near the bottom of most statistical categories in the conference including rebound margin (-16.2) and scoring margin (-33.1), but are first in three-pointers made (8.1) and third in free throw percentage (.725).

vs. Northern State (4-10, 2-4 NSIC)
Curt Hendrickson owns a 545-132 (.805) overall record entering his 24th season as head coach of the Wolves program. Last season, NSU tied for second in the conference after going 19-9 overall.

Northern State has very balanced scoring with seven players averaging over five points per game but no one is over 8.1 points. Shana Theobald and Carin Rambow lead the way with 8.1 points per game with Michelle Hanson (7.8), Amanda Mollman (7.2) and Brooke Fandrich (7.1) closely to follow. Mollman, who stands sixth in the league in rebounding (7.0), is tops on the team in field goal percentage (.508). Liza Lizer is tops in assists (27) while Carin Rambow, who was the co-conference player of the week (Jan. 6) has the most three-pointers (18). Tia Michalski leads the conference with 22 blocks on the season.

The Wolves snapped a seven-game skid with wins over MSU Moorhead, 82-75 and UM-Crookston, 78-74 over the weekend. As a team, NSU’s defense is excellent as it holds its opponents to 39 percent shooting, which is second in the league. However, the Wolves shoot just 65 percent from the foul line, which puts them at the bottom of the NSIC.

(1st Year at BSU, 5-9 (.357); 14th Year Overall, 218-179 (.549))
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 +3.7 on the season 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 185 (13.2 per game) steals on the season while the opposing teams have 130 (9.3 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.