Despite a monster game from sophomore Michelle Gaislerova, the North Dakota State women’s basketball team (2-5) was handed their fifth loss of the year by the Northern Illinois Huskies (3-2), losing 81-63. The teams exchanged points early on, but a 16-3 run by the Huskies put the Bison in a deep hole.
After a bucket by Gaislerova cut the lead to eight early in the second quarter, the Huskies responded with a 7-0 run to take a 43-28 lead into the break. This lead would grow to as much as 28 at one point as the Huskies cruised to victory.
All night long, Norther Illinois capitalized on Bison mistakes, scoring 22 points off turnovers compared to 2 for the Bison. The Huskies also got much more help from their bench, which totaled 27 of the team’s 81 points compared to just 7 for the Bison.
A silver lining for the Bison was the game-high 30 points from Gaislerova, who continues to have a fantastic season. With Marina Fernandez being the lone senior on the roster, the young Bison team will look to continue to learn and harness some chemistry in the weeks leading up to Summit League play.
Before the Summit League slate, NDSU get to return home for two Sunday matinees, including next Sunday against Milwaukee.
For the sixth straight year, the Bison placed at least one wrestler in the top-eight at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, one of the marquee events of the college wrestling season. NDSU actually had a pair of top-eight finishers, with Brent Fleetwood finishing fourth and Cam Sykora finishing eighth.
Fleetwood, ranked No. 21 in the nation in the 125-pound class, only dropped two decisions over the event. Both were to Big Ten wrestlers ranked inside the top-10. Five of the opponents Fleetwood faced at the event came from the Big Ten, and the redshirt senior defeated three of them, including No. 9 Travis Piotrowski of Illinois. Fleetwood improved to 11-2 on the season.
Sykora fought through the consolation bracket to finish eighth. The redshirt junior bounced back after a loss Friday with a pair of tech falls in the following two matches. Sykora improved to 14-2 on the season.
The Bison finished 18th as a team at the invitational, as attention turns to a pair of duel meets against Wyoming and Air Force next weekend.