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Jeff Kolpack, Published November 22 2011

Duquesne wins final five minutes, game over NDSU women's basketball team

FARGO – It’s been a one-time feast, but-mostly famine start of the season for the North Dakota State women’s basketball team. Coming into Tuesday, the average margin of its three losses was 27.3 points while the win was by 20 points.

The first down-to-the-wire finish wasn’t productive, either. Duquesne University (Pa.) never wavered with the lead in the final five minutes to take a 74-66 win before 1,045 fans at the Bison Sports Arena, dropping NDSU to 1-4 on the season.

The Bison got an effort-packed 21-point, 18-rebound performance from senior Abby Plucker, who already had a double-double just five minutes into the second half. It was the 13th time in her career she’s reached double digits in both categories.

“Abby Plucker was phenomenal tonight,” said Duquesne head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio.

Plucker, averaging a subpar-for-her 9.3 points coming into Tuesday, said some advice from Bison assistant coach Jaime Berry made sense to her.

“She said each shot is its own moment and every play is its own segment,” Plucker said. “It sounds so basic, but it’s so true. I hadn’t been hitting my shots the greatest, but I just said it didn’t matter. I tried to be more relaxed.”

It worked, but not for everybody. The Bison didn’t make enough of the simple plays, such as defending an easy layup and giving up a steal and layup after they tied it at 57-57 with 5:05 remaining.

“The little details, that’s what the kids said in the locker room,” said head coach Carolyn DeHoff. “They self-evaluated.”

The Dukes, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference who improved to 3-1, lost 86-80 at the University of North Dakota on Sunday night. Whereas it was the Sioux that were tough down the stretch, the Dukes handled that part of the game on Tuesday.

It wasn’t anything striking that got the Dukes the advantage in the second half. The Bison went scoreless for 4 minutes, 30 seconds, a drought that cost them just a 47-41 deficit.

NDSU hit 3 of its first 20 shots for 18 percent, yet trailed only 49-46 at around the midway point. Wumi Agunbiade, meanwhile, was too much for the Bison, scoring 32 points.

“We grinded it out,” McConnell-Serio said.

NDSU played without starting guard Jamie Van Kirk, who is sidelined with a concussion.

DUQUESNE (3-1): Agunbiade 12-15 7-9 32, Szecsi 1-5 6-6 8, Gensler 4-12 2-2 12, Floyd 4-7 0-1 9, Abel 1-7 0-0 2, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Hall 0-2 1-2 1, Nurkic 2-5 0-0 4, King 1-1 0-0 2, Vendemia 2-6 0-0 4. Totals: 27-61 16-20 74.

NDSU (1-4): Plucker 8-16 4-5 21, Burich 4-7 2-4 10, DeGagne 5-12 0-0 10, Becken 3-7 2-2 8, Linz 3-9 2-2 11, Muri 2-7 0-0 4, Keena 1-1 0-0 2, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Gaines 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-60 10-13 66.

Halftime: DU 38, NDSU 36. Total fouls: DU 16, NDSU 20. Fouled out: Burich. Rebounds: DU 35 (Agunbiade 6); NDSU 38 (Plucker 18). 3-point goals: DU 4-16 (Agunbiade 1-1, Szecsi 0-1, Gensler 2-4, Floyd 1-4, Nurkic 0-3); NDSU 4-10 (Plucker 1-2, Linz 3-6, Becken 0-2). Assists: DU 18 (Abel 6); NDSU 11 (Linz 4). Turnovers: DU 12 (Gensler 3); NDSU 16 (Becken, Linz 3). A-1,045.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia