MAYVILLE, N.D.--Freshman guard Katie Pettit recorded 18 points and 10 assists in her collegiate debut, as the Bemidji State women's basketball team cruised to an 82-60 victory at Mayville State University in the 2009-10 season opener Monday.
With six freshman and eight newcomers, the Beavers didn't know what to expect in the first game of the season. Three newcomers made-up the starting five for BSU as Pettit, junior-transfer Anna Hebrink and freshman Emily Kaus joined two sophomore starters from last season in Sydney Epema and Taylor Davis. But the BSU coaching staff was pleased with what they saw from both the newcomers and the returnees.
"We came out with great energy and started on a 10-0 run that really set the tone," said BSU head coach Mike Curfman. "All our newcomers did a great job and our returners' hard work over the summer and in the pre-season was truly evident. Pettit did a great job of running the point and showed her composure under pressure."
Pettit added five rebounds, three steals and was 5-8 from the line in the win. Epema joined Pettit in double-figures with a game-high 22 points on 8-15 shooting from the field and 6-12 from 3-point range, picking up where she left off from last year from beyond the arc.
She made 73 3-pointers last season, ranking second in 3-pointers made in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Kaus led the team in blocks with five, a feat that wasn't accomplished last season. She also added nine points, as did St. Thomas, N.D. native, sophomore guard Samantha Baldwin.
The Beavers owned the first half offensively, jumping out to at 36-22 halftime lead off 41.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc. BSU was in foul trouble early, allowing the Comets to shoot 22 free throws in the opening half, while taking only eight of its own.
Fortunately for the Beavers, MSU only made 13 of 22 from the line and shot just 17.4 percent from the field.
The Beavers extended their lead to 18 early in the second half, but a run by Mayville State cut the deficit to single digits. BSU got the lead back to a comfortable spot, but again the Comets came back to cut down the away team's lead. The Beavers finally ended MSU's chances of a comeback and extended the lead into the 20's and never looked back.
BSU shot 50 percent from 3-point land in the second half and 45.5 percent in the game. The team shot 47.5 percent from field while going 14-19 from the free throw line.
The Comets held the advantage on the glass, 38-33, which included 17 offensive rebounds. The Beavers counteracted the rebounding disadvantage with more assists (18-5), blocks (7-2) and steals (13-10).
MSU only shot 22.6 percent from the field, 12.5 percent from beyond the arc and 64.2 percent from the line.
"We got into some foul trouble, but we held them to 22.6 percent shooting and really made some strides defensively," Curfman said.
"Our perimeter shooting kept us in the game and our post play was good at key times."
The Beavers will head to Grinnell, Iowa this weekend and play two games at the Grinnell Tip-Off Tournament. BSU battles Martin Luther at 5 p.m. Friday and Buena Vista University at 1 p.m. Saturday.