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Forum staff reports, Published January 19 2013

North Dakota State rally falls short in women's basketball

FARGO – North Dakota State’s rally from 25 points down in the second half came up a bucket short.

The Bison had two jump-shot attempts in the final seconds, but neither fell as NDSU lost 85-83 to Western Illinois in Summit League women’s basketball Saturday.

“They shoot it so well from the 3,” Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff said of the Leathernecks. “We didn’t get it taken care of in the first half.”

The Bison were down 16 points at halftime and fell behind 58-33 with just less than 17 minutes in the game.

But NDSU started to close the gap.

“We’re a lot better team and our flow is a lot better when we’re sharing the ball,” DeHoff said. “And we did that in the second half.”

Saule Kontautaite played all 40 minutes for the Leathernecks, scoring a game-high 30 points on 11 of 16 shooting from the floor.

“She’s just a tough match,” DeHoff said. “We did a lot of switching. … She seems to find her shot.”

Katie Birkel led the Bison with 23 points and seven assists. Marena Whittle added 18 points, Dani DeGagne had 16 and Britney Gaines scored 14.

Western Illinois shot 58 percent from the floor, including a 62-percent clip in the first half.

“I think you take ownership of the first half,” DeHoff said. “And I think our kids did that.”

WI (10-8, 3-3 Summit): Luke 4-8 3-7 11, Rieger 5-10 0-1 10, Henricson 3-5 0-0 7, Kontautaite 11-16 1-2 30, Salvatori 3-8 1-3 7, Reed 5-9 1-2 14, Evans 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 34-59 6-15 85.

NDSU (7-12, 3-4): Keena 1-4 1-2 3, Whittle 6-10 3-6 18, DeGagne 7-15 2-2 16, Birkel 9-15 4-6 23, Van Kirk 2-10 0-0 4, Johnson 2-3 0-0 5, Gaines 6-7 0-0 14. Totals 33-64 10-16 83.

Half: WI 45, NDSU 29. 3-point goals: WI 11-21 (Kontautaite 7-10, Reed 3-6, Henricson 1-2, Rieger 0-1), NDSU 7-15 (Whittle 3-5, Gaines 2-2, Birkel 1-3, Johnson 1-1, Van Kirk 0-4). Total fouls: WI 15, NDSU 15. Rebounds: WI 33 (Rieger 9), NDSU 33 (DeGagne 7). Assists: WI 18 (Henricson 11), NDSU 19 (Birkel 7). Steals: WI 3 (Luke 2), NDSU 11 (Van Kirk 3). Turnovers: WI 14, NDSU 9. A: 495.