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Jeff Kolpack, Published February 14 2010

Women's basketball: Jacks roll over Bison by 25

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Instead of trying to score against the blue and yellow, North Dakota State found itself with a different look Saturday night against the South Dakota State women’s basketball team. The Jackrabbits wore pink uniforms.

It was the same story, however. SDSU used its quickness on defense to smother the Bison 74-49 before 3,240 fans at Frost Arena. It was the 10th straight win in the series with the smallest margin of victory being 16 points.

“For us seniors, we’ve never lost to North Dakota State and that’s a great feeling,” said SDSU forward Maria Boever. “There’s a confidence in never losing to your state rival.”

The Jackrabbits had that 16-point margin topped just two minutes into the second half in SDSU’s Women’s Basketball Coaches Association “Pink Zone” game for breast cancer. Eight straight points after halftime turned a 32-20 lead to a blowout in the making.

It was most noticeable on defense – the Bison did not get a field goal in the second half until Danielle DeGagne’s rebound basket with 10:40 remaining.

“They play hard defense, and put the pressure on us tight,” said NDSU forward Ashley Samuelson. “It’s hard to get any open looks to the rim. It’s just something we have to work on.”

NDSU had seven free throws before DeGagne’s hoop, but the game was already out of its control with the Jacks holding a 50-28 lead.

Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff, in her second year, has seen that before with all four of her career games against SDSU looking virtually the same.

“They’re a well-established program with what they do,” DeHoff said. “We’re closing up on our second year and there are still a lot of new things we’re trying to establish. (SDSU) has consistency in place here. They have the players in place.

“We have some work to do.”

The Jacks established themselves in the first half hitting 5 of 13 3-pointers and committing just four turnovers. When they do that, especially at home, it’s a tough road for anybody and not much changed for almost all of the 40 minutes.

At one time a struggling team around the .500 mark, the 15-9 Jackrabbits seemed to have finally found their stride and remained tied with Oral Roberts atop The Summit standings at 11-3.

“I think our defense has stepped up recently,” said guard Kristin Rotert. “We’ve embraced the idea that we know we don’t have many games left and we’ve gotten better every day. For awhile, we were the same team for a couple weeks at a time. When we struggling, everyone wanted to pick it up on their own and that didn’t work out too well.”

Samuelson led NDSU with 12 points. But the Bison shot just 35 percent and committed 24 turnovers. Guard Macie Michelson had a career-high 23 points to lead the Jackrabbits.

“She gets lit when she plays us,” DeHoff said.

About as lit as SDSU’s uniforms.

“Flashy,” Boever said.

NDSU (13-11, 8-6 Summit): Samuelson 2-7 6-6 10, Burich 3-3 0-0 6, Birkel 1-5 4-4 6, Hodgson 2-3 0-0 4, Trecker 0-1 1-2 1, DeGagne 2-7 2-2 6, Vigil 1-3 2-2 4, Plucker 2-7 0-0 4, Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Zaruba 1-5 1-2 3. Totals; 15-43 16-18 49.

SDSU (15-9, 11-3 Summit): Cornermann 1-2 0-0 2, Sunnarborg 1-5 5-6 7, Boever 7-8 1-1 16, Michelson 9-13 2-3 23, Rotert 4-11 1-2 11, Young 2-5 0-0 6, Anderson 1-2 0-0 3, Schuttloffel 1-3 0-0 2, Eide 0-1 0-0 0, , Lingle 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 27-52 11-14 74.

Halftime: SDSU 32, NDSU 20. Total fouls: NDSU 14, SDSU 12. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: NDSU 35 (Samuelson 10); SDSU 23 (Rotert 5). 3-point goals: NDSU (Birkel , Trecker); SDSU (Boever 1-1, Michelson 3-4, Rotert 2-6, Young 2-5, Anderson 1-2). Assists: NDSU 10 (Hodgson, DeGagne 3); SDSU 19 (Michelson 6). Turnovers: NDSU 24 (Samuelson 6); SDSU 11 (Sunnarborg, Anderson 3). A-3,240

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546