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Kevin Schnepf, Published November 08 2013

Bison women roll to 112-62 win over Mayville State

FARGO – Tired of watching games, Brooke LeMar made the most of her debut for North Dakota State’s women’s basketball team Friday night.

LeMar, a 5-foot-6 junior point guard who could not play last year after transferring from Southern Illinois, had 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists to lead the Bison to a season-opening 112-62 win over Mayville State at the Bison Sports Arena.

“She’s a great addition to the team,” said Marena Whittle, who scored a career-high 20 points and is NDSU’s only returning starter. “She’s fast, and she can create for herself and others.”

LeMar, who played high school ball at Canyon Country, Calif., was a starting point guard for Southern Illinois 75 percent of the time during her two years there. But as playing time diminished, she opted to leave and look to play elsewhere.

That’s when her dad sent out highlight videos to a number of schools, including NDSU and North Dakota.

“Once I saw that video, I said ‘OK, we need to pursue her,’” said Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff, who lost her point guard with the graduation of All-Summit League standout Katie Birkel. “She provides a smooth transition to the point guard position. She played two years at this level. Plus, she was able to watch our system all last year.”

DeHoff was not only happy to see what LeMar could do for her, she was pleased with what she called “steady improvement” after her team’s two exhibition wins over Minnesota-Crookston and Concordia.

The Bison also got 15 points and eight rebounds from sophomore Holly Johnson of Minot, N.D. Senior center Miki Stephenson of Moorhead added 14 points while Bree Whatman, an Austrailian like Whittle, scored 13 and Emily Spier, a 6-foot freshman from Buffalo, Minn., scored 12 points.

The Bison, who finished with a 10-19 record last year, are picked to finish last in the eight-team Summit League this season. This year’s Bison are playing with only two seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen.

“We just have to keep playing as a team,” LeMar said.

“I just want to see steady improvement,” said DeHoff, whose team travels next week for games at Maine and Harvard. “I saw that. Now we have to keep doing that.”

Mayville State entered Friday’s game with a 3-0 record and a No. 22 ranking at the NAIA level.

Marcisa McMillan, a 6-2 senior who was averaging 20.7 points, was limited to eight points. Liza Hoglo, a sophomore guard from Thief River Falls, Minn., and Hailey Longtin, a senior guard from Walhalla, N.D., led the Comets with 14 points each.

MAYVILLE (62): Tauer 2-7 0-1 5, McMillan 3-9 2-2 8, Heier 2-6 1-3 5, Longtinn 4-11 2-2 14, Hoglo 3-9 8-11 14, Kassube 0-2 0-0 0, Blair 0-2 2-3 2, Rude 4-14 0-0 10, McNary 0-1 2-2 2, Henrikson 0-1 2-2 2, Gonsior 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-62 (FG), 19-26 (FT).

NDSU (112): Johnson 5-6 4-6 15, Kenna 3-5 0-0 6, Whittle 6-13 7-7 20, LeMar 8-10 2-2 19, Whatman 4-11 4-4 13, Wiebe 1-2 0-0 2, Becken 2-6 1-2 5, Breske 2-5 0-0 4, Spier 4-7 4-6 12, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Stephenson 6-9 2-2 14. Totals: 42-76 (FG), 24-29 (FT).

Halftime: NDSU 54, M 31. Total fouls: M 19, NDSU 20. 3-point goals: M 7-28 (Tauer 1, Longtin 4, Rude 2), NDSU 4-14 (Johnson 1, Whittle 1, LeMar 1, Whatman 1). Rebounds: M 26 (McMillan 8), NDSU 56 (Whittle 9, Johnson 8, LeMar 8, Spier 7). Assists: M 10 (Heier 5), NDSU 21 (Whatman 7, Breske 5, Whittle 3, LeMar 3). Steals: M 2, NDSU 6. Turnovers: M 17 (Tauer 4), NDSU 11 (Becken 3). A-989.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com