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Chris Murphy, Published January 03 2013

Bison women fall to Coyotes 73-52

FARGO – Coming into Thursday’s matchup against South Dakota, North Dakota State’s women’s basketball team had lost six of its last seven games.

Unfortunately for the Bison, they’ll have to add another tally in the loss column, as a second-half surge lifted the Coyotes over the Bison 73-52 in their Summit League home opener Thursday at Bison Sports Arena.

The Bison (4-10, 0-2) are tired of losing, but the answers aren’t that simple.

“Boy, I wish I had answers for you,” NDSU coach Carolyn DeHoff said. “It’s really tough right now. It sure didn’t feel like a 20-something point game, but it happened.”

It happened in the blink of an eye.

With 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half, NDSU led 34-21 and looked to be cruising, but South Dakota (7-8, 2-0) would close the half on a 10-3 run and open the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 38-37 lead and never look back.

“You wouldn’t know we were the team up starting the second half,” DeHoff said. “We just looked really, really, really flat and they kept going at us and we couldn’t get anything going. We just couldn’t get over that hump. They went at us. We gave up 17 offensive rebounds and they got to the line 27 times.”

It took nearly eight minutes for NDSU to score in the second half, as the Bison missed six shots and turned the ball over seven times in the team’s first 13 possessions of the second half. Dani DeGagne hit a layup for two of her team-high 17 points – along with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals – to cut the USD lead to 47-46 with 8:30 remaining, but the Coyotes shut the door with a 26-6 run to close out the game.

“I think energy was a huge difference,” DeGagne said. “It was our best first half I think we played all year. Normally, we come out ready to go in the second half, but it was the other way around this game. It’s frustrating. We just need to keep going and be ready to go. We need to not worry about the outcome as much as keep focusing on playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”

After shooting 52 percent in the first half, NDSU shot 25 percent in the second half, including 1 of 9 from beyond the 3-point line.

NDSU (4-10, 0-2): Johnson 2-5 2-2 6, Whittle 1-4 0-0 2, DeGagne 6-11 5-5 17, Birkel 2-8 0-0 6, Van Kirk 5-8 2-2 14, Keena 2-8 0-2 4, Gaines 1-4 0-0 3.. Totals 19-49 9-11 52.

USD (7-8, 2-0): January 1-4 1-1 3, Harrington 4-10 2-3 10, Wilson 5-12 4-5 15, Yackley 2-6 1-2 5, Seekamp 7-14 5-6 20, Mehr 2-3 0-0 6, McCloud 4-6 1-3 9, Loeffler 0-1 5-7 5. Totals 25-59 19-27 73.

Half: NDSU 37, USD 31. 3-point goals: USD 4-8 (Wilson 1-2, Seekamp 1-2, Mehr 2-3, Yackley 0-1), NDSU 5-18 (Johnson 0-1, Whittle 0-3, DeGagne 0-2, Birkel 2-5, Van Kirk 2-3, Brown 0-1, Gaines 1-3). Total fouls: USD 12, NDSU 19. Rebounds: USD 44 (McCloud 13), NDSU 26 (DeGagne 8). Assists: USD 13 (Yackley 5), NDSU 13 (DeGagne and Johnson 3). Steals: USD 9 (Seekamp 6), NDSU 5 (DeGagne and Gaines 2) Turnovers: USD 10 (four with 2), NDSU 13 (DeGagne and Johnson 3).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548