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Forum staff reports, Published February 02 2013

Birkel, DeGagne spark NDSU rally against USD

VERMILLION, S.D. – With the North Dakota State women’s basketball team trailing by three late in the second half Saturday night, Katie Birkel and Dani DeGagne answered the bell again.

Birkel and DeGagne scored all eight points during an 8-0 run that gave NDSU the lead for good in a 57-50 victory against South Dakota in Summit League play.

“They obviously had a great weekend,” NDSU head coach Carolyn DeHoff said. “And certainly the kids around them are making the plays as well.”

The Bison were down 41-38 with less than six minutes to play. But they rallied behind a 3-pointer and layup from Birkel, followed by a three-point play by DeGagne. DeGagne’s free throw put NDSU ahead 46-41 with 2 minutes, 55 seconds to play.

Rebounding was a point of emphasis. In NDSU’s 73-52 home loss to USD last month, the Bison were outrebounded 44-26.

NDSU is still missing a number of key post players due to injury. As a result, DeHoff has had to encourage her perimeter players to get more involved on the glass.

It worked Saturday, as the Bison held a 39-38 edge in rebounds.

“We needed to win the rebounding war,” DeHoff said. “… That was the whole thing that got us at our place. We couldn’t let that happen again.”

DeHoff also cited her team committing only 10 turnovers as a big reason for the victory.

“We’ve got to take care of the basketball, because we’re not going to play a high-possession game,” she said. “Each possession has to be valued, and our kids are doing that.”

NDSU (8-14, 4-6): Keena 2-3 2-2 6, Whittle 2-8 0-1 4, Degagne 6-16 5-5 17, Birkel 10-23 2-2 24, VanKirk 0-6 1-2 1, Gaines 1-2 2-2 5. Totals: 21-59 12-14 57.

SD (11-12, 6-4): Harrington 5-9 1-2 11, Loeffler 1-4 2-2 4, Wilson 2-12 0-0 4, Seekamp 8-15 0-0 19, Mehr 1-5 0-0 3, McCloud 3-3 0-0 6, Hoff 1-5 0-0 3. Totals: 21-60 3-4 50.

Half: NDSU 21, SD 21. 3-point goals: NDSU 3-14 (Birkel 2-7, Gaines 1-1), SD 5-26 (Seekamp 3-6, Mehr 1-3, Hoff 1-4). Total fouls: NDSU 11 (Keena), SD 10. Rebounds: NDSU 39 (Whittle 9), SD 38 (Harrington 10). Assists: NDSU 9 (Degagne 4), SD 16 (Yackley 6). Steals: NDSU 7 (Degagne 3), SD 6 (Harrington, Hoff 2). Turnovers: NDSU 10, SD 15. A: 1015.