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Eric Peterson, Published December 05 2010

Women's basketball: 11th time is the charm for Bison

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The streak is over.

Danielle DeGagne poured in a career-high 24 points Saturday at Frost Arena. Her performance sparked North Dakota State to a 78-71 women’s basketball victory against South Dakota State in the Summit League opener for both teams.

The Bison (4-3, 1-0 Summit) halted a 10-game losing streak against the Jackrabbits. The last time the Bison beat South Dakota State was on Feb. 26, 2005, when they scored a 64-63 victory against the Jackrabbits at the Bison Sports Arena.

“I’m kind of speechless right now only because I could not be more proud of our kids,” said NDSU coach Carolyn DeHoff.

NDSU also ended a nearly six-year losing drought at Frost Arena. The Bison hadn’t beaten SDSU at Frost since Jan. 22, 2005, when they earned a 78-68 victory.

“When you come here everybody is talking about the streak against SDSU,” said Bison guard Katie Birkel, who finished with 21 points. “It means a lot. This is good for the rest of the season, but at the same time, it’s just one game.”

SDSU (3-4, 0-1) had been dominant over the previous 10 meetings with its closest margin of victory being 16 points in those 10 consecutive triumphs.

“I think this one is going to be in our minds for quite a while,” said SDSU senior guard Kristin Rotert, who had three points. “I don’t think it’s going to leave our minds.”

The Bison got off to a strong start and never trailed in the game’s final 35 minutes. SDSU tied the score a 65-65 with 3 minutes, 3 seconds to play in the second half after a Rotert foul shot.

NDSU, however, responded with an 11-1 run that proved to be the difference. The Bison scored nine of those points from the foul line. Junior forward Abby Plucker started the critical run with a baseline jumper that staked NDSU a 67-65 advantage with 2:45 remaining. That gave the Bison the lead for good.

“We just had to do our thing and keep our composure,” said DeGagne, who shot 65 percent (11 of 17) from the floor.

The Bison led by as many as 12 points in the first half. Sophomore guard Hannah Linz drained a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 14 seconds to play in the first half to stake NDSU to a 34-22 lead. That basket capped a 12-0 run. Plucker scored five points during that surge, including a 3-pointer.

“We knew we had to get going right off the bat,” DeGagne said. “I couldn’t be scared out there or else it would be tough for us.”

The Bison shot 62 percent (16 of 26) from the field in the first half, including 4-for-8 shooting (50 percent) from 3-point range. NDSU shot 54 percent (26 of 48) from the field for the game.

“We just didn’t defend very well tonight,” SDSU coach Aaron Johnston said. “The tempo of the game was definitely in their favor.”

The Bison were without starting guard Whitney Trecker, who was out with an ankle injury. Four of the NDSU starters played at least 33 minutes and scored in double figures.

“We kind of established ourselves early as the aggressor,” DeHoff said. “It’s huge because this is an incredible environment in Frost Arena.”

NDSU (4-3, 1-0 Summit): Plucker 5-10 4-6 15, Burich 0-4 2-4 2, DeGagne 11-17 1-2 24, Birkel 6-12 6-8 21, Linz 2-3 6-6 12, Peltier 0-0 0-0 0, Shea 2-2 0-0 4, Stephenson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-48 19-26 78.

SDSU (3-4, 0-1): Dietel 2-6 1-5 5, Sunnarborg 9-15 2-3 20, Michelson 4-9 3-3 13, Young 2-9 2-2 8, Rotert 2-6 5-8 9, Paluch 2-2 0-0 5, Schuttloffel 0-0 0-0 0, Waytashek 1-3 0-0 2, Eide 1-3 0-0 2, Lingle 0-2 0-0 0, Strop 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 26-61 13-21 71.

Half: NDSU 39, NDSU 34. 3-point goals: NDSU 7-14 (Plucker 1-3, DeGagne 1-2, Birkel 3-6, Linz 2-3), SDSU 6-23 (Dietel 0-1, Sunnarborg 0-1, Michelson 2-5, Young 2-7, Rotert 0-2, Paluch 1-1, Waytashek 0-1, Eide 0-2, Strop 1-3). Total fouls: NDSU 20, SDSU 18. Rebounds: NDSU 28 (three players with 6), SDSU 35 (Dietel 9).

Assists: NDSU 16 (Birkel 6), SDSU 13 (Sunnarborg 3, Rotert 3). Steals: NDSU 7 (Plucker 2, Birkel 2), SDSU 7 (Dietel 2). Turnovers: NDSU 12 (Burich 4), SDSU 14 (Rotert 5).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com