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Chris Murphy, Published November 17 2012

Bison women fall to UNI

FARGO – Basketball is a complex game with statistics that go completely unnoticed. Simplistically, the ball needs to go through the net.

North Dakota State’s women’s basketball team led 8-4 with 15 minutes, 24 seconds left in the first half over the University of Northern Iowa. The Bison did not score in the ensuing seven minutes and only scored 10 more points the rest of the half, taking a 31-18 deficit into the half and eventually falling to the Panthers 66-50 Saturday at the Bison Sports Arena.

“I thought early we had good looks, but whoever takes the shot has to shoot it with confidence,” NDSU coach Carolyn DeHoff said. “UNI did a great job keeping us off the glass. We just got rattled. We lost our composure and we started taking really bad shots. You get yourself in a hole, it doesn’t matter if you’re at home or on the road, you have to dig yourself out of it in the second half.”

NDSU (2-2) tried to climb out of the hole in the second half, opening up an 11-3 run to cut the UNI lead to 34-29 with less than 15 minutes remaining. Back-to-back jumpers from Sharnae Lamar pushed the Panthers’ (2-1) lead back to

38-29 and the Bison never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

“Our kids did a nice job coming back in the second half,” DeHoff said. “We were getting out-toughed in the first half. They were punching us and we were falling down. We gave them some critical second-chance shots and they scored on them.”

After two wins to start the season, NDSU has dropped back-to-back games.

“You’re going to have to gut every game out,” DeHoff said. “You’re not going to separate largely from any Division I opponent. You’ll only do that with composure on shots. We also need to not break down defensively when our shots aren’t falling.”

Each time NDSU seemingly was back in it, UNI shut the door in the second half. A steal and a fastbreak layup for NDSU’s Katie Birkel made it a 44-36 game with seven minutes, 16 seconds remaining, but the Panthers answered with back-to-back jumpers to push the lead back to 12. Dani DeGagne hit a shot to make it a 50-42 Panthers lead with five minutes left, but Brittni Donaldson responded with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to double digits.

Marena Whittle hit a

3-pointer to make it a 55-47 Panthers lead with three minutes remaining, but Kalin Jacqui scored nine of her game-high 26 points in a 9-0 run for the Panthers to seal it.

“We did it to ourselves in the first half,” Birkel said. “Their defense was decent, but we didn’t work our offense. We learned to do that in the second half. We have to learn from this and put it aside. We need to look at what we did well in the second half and take it that to the next game.”

UNI (2-1): Kirschbaum 5-7 1-2 11, McDowell 0-5 0-4 0, Jacqui 9-19 6-6 26, Brown 1-4 0-0 2, Donaldson 4-7 2-2 14, Lamar 2-8 0-0 4, Schonhardt 0-1 0-0 0, Keitel 3-5 3-5 9. Totals 24-56 12-15 66.

NDSU (2-2): Johnson 3-5 0-0 6, Whittle 1-6 6-6 9, DeGagne 5-10 2-6 12, Birkel 6-12 0-0 12, Van Kirk 0-8 0-0 0, Becken 2-7 0-1 6, Keena 0-1 0-0 0, Linz 1-2 0-0 3, Browning 1-2 0-0 2, Stephenson 0-2 0-0, Gaines 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-56 8-13 50.

Half: UNI 31, NDSU 18. 3-point goals: UNI 6-24 (McDowell 0-4, Jacqui 2-8, Brown 0-3, Donaldson 4-6, Lamar 0-2, Schonhardt 0-1), NDSU 4-17 (Johnson 0-1, Whittle 1-1, DeGagne 0-2, Birkel 0-1, Van Kirk 0-4, Becken 2-5, Linz 1-2, Gaines 0-1. Total fouls: UNI 16, NDSU 17. Rebounds: UNI 38 (Jacqui, 9), NDSU 36 (Van Kirk 8). Assists: UNI 13 (Jacqui 5), NDSU 11 (Van Kirk 3). Steals: UNI 7 (Brown, 2 Keitel 2), NDSU 3 (three with 1) Turnovers: UNI 11 (Kirschaum 3, Jacqui 3), NDSU 14 (five with 2).

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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548