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Eric Peterson, Published December 06 2012

Drake defeats Bison in women's basketball

FARGO – It’s been a tough week for the North Dakota State women’s basketball team.

Drake University came to the Bison Sports Arena on Thursday and earned a 62-50 victory in Division I nonconference play before 512 fans.

Days earlier, the team found out 6-foot-5 senior center Janae Burich is lost for the season with a knee injury, a fact that head coach Carolyn DeHoff confirmed Thursday.

“What we need to do now is find what’s going to work for us offensively with the size that we do have now,” DeHoff said.

The Bison (3-6) have lost three consecutive games and six of their past seven. Burich played in the first two games this season before she got injured. Burich was cleared to practice last week and then injured her ACL in practice, DeHoff said. An MRI on Monday confirmed it was a season-ending injury.

“Once you’ve been through it, you don’t wish for anyone to have to go through that,” said NDSU senior guard Katie Birkel, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. “It’s something that’s going to be hard for her. It’s a bummer.”

A cold offensive stretch in the first half proved to be the undoing for the Bison against Drake. NDSU had a 10-plus minute stretch where it scored one field goal. Drake took advantage with a 21-2 run that vaulted it into the lead for good.

“Normally, I would say it was our defense, but tonight we were cold,” Birkel said. “No one was really feeling it until the second half.”

Bulldogs guard Carly Grenfell helped spark that rally with two 3-pointers during that game-changing stretch. Junior guard Morgan Reid capped the Drake surge with a 3-point play, which staked the Bulldogs to a 28-13 lead with 7 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

Drake shot 54 percent (14 of 26) from the field in the first 20 minutes to build a 34-20 halftime lead.

The Bison clawed back into the game in the second half, cutting the Drake lead to three points on multiple occasions. Birkel helped lead the charge, scoring nine of her 11 points after halftime. Her drive and scoop shot cut the Drake lead to 42-39 with 8:43 remaining in the second half.

The Bulldogs answered with an Ashley Bartow

3-pointer a minute later. The Bison got no closer than four points the rest of the way.

“It’s very frustrating,” Birkel said of not being able to take back the lead.

DRAKE (3-4): Running 3-6 2-2 8, Grenfell 3-9 0-0 9, Clark 3-9 4-4 11, Marschner 2-6 5-7 9, Reid 6-10 2-3 14, Specht 1-4 0-0 2, Heap 1-1 0-0 2, Bartow 2-4 2-2 7, Lutes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 15-18 62.

NDSU (3-6): Johnson 3-4 0-3 6, DeGagne 4-14 0-0 8, Birkel 5-16 1-2 11, Linz 3-7 0-0 7, Van Kirk 4-10 1-2 12, Keena 1-3 0-0 2, Whittle 1-5 0-0 2, Stephenson 1-1 0-0 2, Gaines 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 2-7 50.

Half: DU 34, NDSU 20. 3-point goals: DU 5-17 (Grenfell 3-9, Clark 1-3, Marschner 0-2, Specht 0-2, Bartow 1-1), NDSU 4-16 (DeGagne 0-1, Birkel 0-4, Linz 1-4, Van Kirk 3-6, Whittle 0-1). Total fouls: DU 12, NDSU 16. Fouled out: DeGagne. Rebounds: DU 35 (Reid 9), NDSU 36 (Birkel 6, Whittle 6). Assists: DU 16 (Clark 5), NDSU 6 (DeGagne 2, Linz 2). Steals: DU 10 (Clark 6), NDSU 8 (DeGagne 3). Turnovers: DU 16 (Marschner 5), NDSU 16 (Van Kirk 4). A-512.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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