NDSU Falls Short in Last Game at Home
Bison look to improve before conference tournament
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 09:02
The NDSU women’s basketball team didn’t say goodbye to the Bison Sports Arena with a very uplifting departure.
Summit League rival Omaha came to Fargo and beat the Bison 68-57 on Saturday’s NDSU Senior Night in the Bison women’s last game ever at the BSA.
Omaha (10-14, 2-8 Summit) shot 42 percent from the field, compared to NDSU’s 32 percent. The Bison shot a measly 23 percent — nine percent in the first half — from beyond the arc, while the Mavericks shot 50 percent from beyond the arc.
“We kind of took ourselves on a rollercoaster ride,” Bison forward Marena Whittle said. “Unfortunately the downs really got us. But once we were playing well and together, we were pretty much unstoppable. We just had to do that the whole game.”
The Bison (6-20, 2-9 Summit) didn’t get the much-needed spark from Brooke LeMar they are accustomed to. LeMar was 0-of-3 from the field in the first half and ended the night with 13 points. Whittle was the driving force for NDSU with an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Ericka House led the Mavericks with a game-high 23 points while shooting 8-of-16 from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point land.
“You kind of feel hopeless sometimes as a coach,” NDSU head coach Carolyn DeHoff said. “If you keep throwing different things at them, you’re getting the same shots. You don’t want to overstate things, because they are certainly feeling it. That’s tough.”
After starting off the game with an 18-5 run in the first 10 minutes, Omaha went into the locker room with a 13-point halftime advantage. However, the Bison fought back and scored 40 points in the second frame to close the gap, but still fell short.
The Mavericks were bruisers down low, outshooting the Bison 30-16 in the paint.
“It was frustrating, annoying — there are about 1,000 words I could put to it,” Whittle said. “We just needed to pull ourselves together afterwards and get back to shooting with confidence and shooting on our first thought, not our second.”
This loss came following a 76-68 defeat to Western Illinois at the BSA. The Bison gave up 13 offensive rebounds and saw the Leathernecks make 18 more free throws in the contest.
The Bison shot better in that game than Western Illinois (13-11, 5-4 Summit) by a small margin, which helped them pull to within a few points under five minutes left to play. The Leathernecks, however, didn’t look back and took the conference win.
DeHoff claimed it is too late into the season to be making changes to the strategies. She simply knows her team will need to play more consistent if they want to make a run in the Summit League Tournament in March.
“(Playing) just 20 minutes isn’t going to win you games, and we’ve shown that,” DeHoff said. “When you look at us, we’re always scoring high one half, but not the other half. We need to change that.”
The Bison have been zoned in on playing high level basketball an entire game since the beginning, Whittle said. She said that once they are able to so, they’ll be ready to go to Sioux Falls, S.D., and make a conference championship run.
“We need to pull a 40-minute game together,” Whittle said. “That’s what we’ve been saying since the beginning of the season. We’re still saying it now. I have a feeling that when we pull those 40 minutes together, we’re going to be something to watch.”