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Ben Karkela, Published December 08 2010

Women's basketball: Birkel scores career high, Bison win big

It was a career night for many Bison, but no one was better than Katie Birkel.

The junior guard scored a career-high 27 points as North Dakota State rolled to a 102-62 victory over Mayville State in nonconference women’s basketball Tuesday at the Bison Sports Arena before an announced crowd of 840 fans.

Birkel went 7-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line. She was two 3-pointers shy of tying the school record set by Beth Bue in 2002 against Northern Colorado.

“I was just looking for my shot in that zone,” Birkel said. “I think you have to go in with confidence any time, but once you hit the first one, you start feeling it.”

The Bison (5-3, 1-0 Summit League) scored the first five points of the game and never trailed.

Late in the first half, Mayville State (2-6) pulled within six points. However, the Bison went on a 13-0 run to extend the lead to 45-26. Abby Plucker capped the surge with a long three-pointer.

This was the first time North Dakota State scored over 100 points since 2005 when the Bison defeated Dakota Wesleyan 105-42. It was the 41st time the Bison broke the 100-point mark.

“It just shows that we’re very capable of scoring,” Birkel said. “We shared the ball well.”

Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff was pleased with the performance, especially with her bench players.

“The first half we were trying to work in our bench kids,” DeHoff said. “At halftime, we told them to pick it up defensively, get after them, force some turnovers and get ourselves some easy baskets. Our players did a great job responding.”

Miki Stephenson, a freshman center from Moorhead, scored her first collegiate points in the first half. Stephenson finished the game with four points.

The Bison recorded a season-high 26 assists. Sophomore guard Hannah Linz set a career high with 11 assists. The Bison also tied a team record for 3-point field goals with 16. Sophomore guard Danielle DeGagne grabbed five steals to set a career high.

Plucker, a junior forward, scored 15 points while leading the team with 11 rebounds.

Eli Cosme-Gonzalez led Mayville State with 13 points. Laura Taylor added 10 points and recorded a team-high six rebounds.

“(Mayville State) struggled early, but they picked it up lately,” DeHoff said. “They’re playing a competitive schedule and they’ve played well.”

MS (2-6): DeMorales 1-4 0-0 2, Taylor 4-8 2-2 10, Cosme-Gonzalez 5-10 2-4 13, Longtin 3-6 2-2 11, Smart 2-4 0-0 5, Laforet 0-1 3-4 3, Boekelheide 1-2 0-0 3, Wenaas 2-5 0-0 6, Tauer 1-2 1-1 3, Jackson 3-8 0-2 6. Totals 22-55 10-15 62.

NDSU (5-3, 1-0 Summit): Plucker 4-7 4-5 15, Burich 7-12 4-7 18, DeGagne 4-8 3-4 12, Birkel 9-11 2-2 27, Linz 2-10 0-0 5, Lako 3-5 0-0 8, Peltier 3-4 2-2 10, Shea 1-5 1-2 3, Stephenson 2-4 0-1 4. Totals 35-66 16-23 102.

Half: NDSU 45, MS 30. 3-point goals: MS 8-19 (Cosme-Gonzalez 1-1, Lington 3-6, Smart 1-2, Ericson 0-3, Boehkelheide 1-1, Wenaas 2-4, Tauer 0-1, Jackson 0-1), NDSU 16-32 (Plucker 3-4, DeGagne 1-2, Birkel 7-9, Linz 1-9, Lako 2-4, Peltier 2-3, Shea 0-1). Total fouls: MS 18, NDSU 13. Rebounds: MS 30 (Taylor 6), NDSU 38 (Plucker 11). Assists: MS 15 (six tied with 2), NDSU 26 (Linz 11). Steals: MS 8 (DeMorales 3), NDSU 16 (DeGagne 5). Turnovers: MS 28, NDSU 14.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Ben Karkela at (701) 241-5549