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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 09 2014

Bison women's basketball team falls in two overtimes

FARGO – It hasn’t been so much the beginning or the middle of games that have plagued North Dakota State this year. It’s been the finishing.

The Summit League opener on Thursday night against Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne represented a new season of sorts for the Bison women’s basketball team. But it was the same old story, and this one was less-than-a-second close.

IPFW’s Amanda Hyde made two free throws with 0.3 seconds left in regulation to tie it. She canned an open 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left to force a second overtime.

The Mastodons took over in that frame to take a 98-89 victory at the Bison Sports Arena.

“It was looking good there for a second,” said Bison forward Marena Whittle. “I thought we had to battle, but it was a battle that we lost. I’m so done with these. I just want to win.”

Hyde, the Summit preseason Player of the Year, finished with 35 points. Whittle looked all-league herself, finishing with 34 points and 15 rebounds.

It was one great performance versus another that mirrored the game. Unfortunately for NDSU, it mirrored the season.

“This is a tough one for the kids,” said Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff. “You could feel it in the locker room that it hurts. We have to come back tomorrow and pick our heads up.”

Of the 11 defeats, only a couple were of the decisive variety where the Bison didn’t have some sort of chance in the final 10 minutes.

Trailing 57-56 in regulation, Whittle would hear nothing of it. She scored all of her team’s 11 points over the next four-plus minutes and NDSU led 69-65 with 3:37 remaining.

NDSU led 73-69 when the Bison offense went stagnant. Haley Seibert hit 5 of 6 free throws for the Mastodons, and they led 74-73 with 42 seconds left.

The Bison finally got a decent look, and forward Liz Keena buried the 12-footer for a one-point advantage with 18 seconds remaining.

Seibert missed a driving shot in traffic. The Mastodons fouled Whittle on the rebound, and she made 1 of 2 free throws at 8.8 seconds.

That wasn’t enough of a lead. Hyde sank two and NDSU had its first overtime game of the season.

The Mastodons made some noise in December, beating 18th-ranked Michigan State 81-76, one of the better victories for a Summit team in recent years. They also played Indiana tough in a close loss.

NDSU knows all about close losses. All too often.

“I’m kind of lost for words,” DeHoff said. “I thought our kids really battled and competed.”

IPFW (8-7, 1-0 Summit): Hyde 12-19 9-9 35, Bruner 3-6 0-0 6, R. Mauk 0-4 0-0 0, Seibert 6-15 13-15 28, Hagerman 2-9 0-0 4, S. Mauk 3-9 5-10 12, Simmons 0-2 2-2 2, Rinehart 2-3 2-2 8, Ogle 1-2 0-0 2, Wilmoth 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 29-69 32-40 98.

NDSU (3-12, 0-1 Summit): Johnson 6-16 2-2 14, Whittle 11-22 10-12 34, Keena 6-13 0-0 12, LeMar 4-10 3-3 12, Whatman 2-7 1-2 5, Becken 0-8 0-0 0, Breske 2-4 0-0 4, Spier 2-4 0-0 4, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Stephenson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 35-86 16-19 89.

Halftime: IPFW 42, NDSU 36. Total fouls: IPFW , NDSU . Fouled LeMar: none. Rebounds: IPFW 42 (Hyde, S. Mauk 10); NDSU 51 (Whittle 15). 3-point goals: IPFW 8-25 (Hyde 2-5, R. Mauk 0-3, Seibert 3-6, S. Mauk 1-7, Rinehart 2-3); NDSU 3-18 (Johnson 0-2, Whittle 2-6, Whatman 0-4, LeMar 1-2, Becken 0-4). Assists: IPFW 11 (Hyde 5); NDSU 19 (Becken 5). Turnovers: IPFW 11 (Hyde 3): NDSU 14 (LeMar 5). A-521.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia