Women’s season finishes quickly in Sioux Falls
While the rest of campus took some time off for spring break, both North Dakota State basketball teams stayed hard at work.
Over the past week, the women brought their season to a close, while the men extended theirs out a little longer.
The women’s basketball team played South Dakota in the quarterfinals of the Summit League Championship. However, the No. 7 seed NDSU was no match for the second seeded Coyotes. The Bison lost the matchup 51-74, and their season came to an abrupt end.
South Dakota was red hot with four players reaching double digits, including 20 points from Hannah Sjerven. On the other side of the court, Emily Dietz led the Bison, scoring 20 as well. Her team was not there for her though, as no one else scored over seven.
The women ended the season with a poor 7-22 record, and the following Monday head coach Maren Walseth was released. She served five years as the women’s basketball head coach and produced a career 40-106 record. A search for a new head coach is already underway.
In brighter news, we turn to the men’s basketball team and their results over the past week. With a bit of a shock, the senior-less squad managed to claim the Summit League championship.
Day one, down in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, started with a game against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. In front of crowd of nearly 6,000, the Bison beat out Oral Roberts 86-73 to move up to the semifinal match.
The day was led by Bison junior Tyson Ward, who scored 25 points on the night including 11-13 free throws. Cameron Hunter also had a night at the line, making 4-5 free throws.
The opponent in the semifinals was a shock. No. 8 Western Illinois managed to upset No. 1 South Dakota State. It was the first time in Summit League history that the No. 8 seed cooked up the upset and the first tournament win for the Leathernecks since 2013.
The game came down to the wire, but NDSU beat Western Illinois 76-73. This time it was Sam Griesel stepping up for the Bison with 20 points scored. Vinnie Shahid came in with 14 as well, including 3-4 from 3-point range.
The win advanced the Herd to the championship game against No. 2 Omaha. Earlier in the season, the Bison had lost both their games against Omaha, both by over eight points. An upset would be needed, and an upset came.
NDSU beat Omaha 73-63 to become Summit League champions. For the first time since 2015, the Bison punched their ticket to the “Big Dance.”
Shahid had another great scoring night putting up 22. He was followed by Ward, who had 15. Hunter also had a big night with a perfect shooting percentage, making all of his 3-pointers and free throws.
The win is a ticket for NDSU to make it back to the NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday put the Bison in the “First Four.”
NDSU have one win in four tournament appearances. Back in 2014, freshman Carlin Dupree played the hero in upsetting No. 5 Oklahoma in the first round.
NDSU played North Carolina Central after press time Wednesday night. Winner earned the right to face overall No. 1 seed Duke on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina.