Despite a 5-12 overall record, the North Dakota State women’s basketball team sat 3-1 and tied at the top of the Summit League. In a three-game win streak, the Bison managed to knock off the University of South Dakota, a pre-season favorite for the conference championship.
That was Jan. 7, and the time between then and now has not been pretty for the Bison. A 70-50 loss to Oral Roberts on Saturday at the Scheels Center compounded the issue. NDSU finds themselves on a five-game losing streak, sitting seventh in the Summit League, just two games above last place.
Avoiding the cellar is very important, as only the top eight teams in the nine-team conference will play in Sioux Falls in the postseason.
If there was a game to accurately depict the Bison’s season, it was against Oral Roberts. If there was two words to describe the game and season, head coach Maren Walseth hit it on the nose.
“Consistently inconsistent,” Walseth said.
For the Bison, the first half was about as good as could be planned. The Bison and Golden Eagles swapped one point leads for a majority of the opening stanza. The largest runs a team could get was just seven points. Both teams had a lead of five points at some point in the second quarter.
Coming out of the break, the Golden Eagles took off and left the Bison behind. ORU hopped on a 13-2 run to open the half, with the Bison going over six minutes without a basket.
After two quarters of good basketball, the wheels came off in the third, as NDSU was outscored 19-10 in the third quarter. That was not helped by 31 percent shooting from the field.
Two turnovers by the Bison early in the fourth quarter sealed their fate. Those were two of the 18 turnovers by the Bison that led to 25 Golden Eagle points.
Taylor Thunstedt got four points late on to lead the Bison with 10. For the game, NDSU shot 39 percent from the field, and despite starting four of five from behind the three-point line, they finished just 5-14.
The schedule does not lighten up next week for the Bison. Up next is a midweek trip to league-leading South Dakota State on Thursday.