A second half explosion brought the North Dakota State Bison women’s basketball team a season-opening win. Trailing 33-39 coming out of the locker room, the Bison hit six three-pointers to pull ahead late, winning 70-63 over Dickinson State.
Under the bright lights of the Scheels Center, the youthful team looked anything but. In her first game, freshman Sarah Jacobson kept the Bison close early. The Fargo native hit three of four from behind the arch in the first half.
The Bison enjoyed an early lead in the close contest. Lorna Shepherd had eight points in the first as the Bison led 17-16 after the first quarter.
The second was cool for the Bison. Five NDSU turnovers left Bison scoreless for over four minutes. That led to a 10-0 run of the Blue Hawks. Dickinson State saw their lead balloon to as many as between eight and three before Shepherd hit a three before the interval.
After a back and forth period to start the half, an odd calm came over the Scheels Center. The reason for this was a two-and-a-half-minute stretch of no scoring for either team.
Autumn Ogden broke that streak for the Bison, collecting her first two point of her freshman campaign.
Junior Taylor Thunstedt took over from there. She cut the lead to three after hitting from three-point land to make it a one-possession game.
After MacKayla Feeney hit a three pointer to break a 51-all deadlock, Thunstedt answered right back with a three of her own. The junior, who started 2-11 shooting, finished 7-9 and had 16 fourth quarter points. That included back-to-back-to-back three pointers to push the Bison lead to seven.
“First half was a little rough on my part, but I knew everyone would step up and do their part,” Thunstedt said. “Just keep shooting the ball, and it will fall eventually.”
“There are teaching moments, one thing that was very apparent is that when we play harder, it is easier,” head coach Maren Walseth said. “I appreciate that confidence (of Thunstedt), I do trust her, and she made the great shot like she often does.”
At the end of the night, Thunstedt finished with a game high 25 points on 7-13 from three-point range. Jacobson scored each of her 12 points from behind the arch. Senior Emily Spier was a rebound away from a double-double, with 10 points and nine rebounds.
It was a good experience for the young team, but they look to get better.
“I look for all of them to look to continue to relish in those moments and be coachable and grow,” Walseth said.
The Bison hit the east coast for a pair of games this week. First up in the University of Massachusetts Monday night, before traveling to Providence Wednesday. The Herd return to the Scheels Center next Tuesday against Colorado.