Home Court Advantage Not Enough for Bison

The comforts of home were not enough Wednesday night for the North Dakota State women’s basketball team. With their only win of the season coming at the Scheels Center, the Bison fell to Western Michigan 68-63.

It was not without fight for the Bison. With just over three minutes to go in the fourth, the Broncos extended their lead to 11. Taylor Thunstedt and Emily Spier hit back-to-back shots to cut the lead to six.

The game slowed down as the Bison forced Western Michigan to shoot free throws. Kennedy Childers nailed a three to make it a five-point deficit. The sophomore then missed another three on the next Bison possession, but a steal and layup by Sarah Jacobson made it a one-possession game.

That would be as close to the Broncos as the Bison would get in the fourth. Free throws down the stretch would ice the game for Western Michigan, despite another three from Thunstedt.

The plus side for the Bison in the late rally was the 9 of 14 shooting in the fourth. The 64 percent shooting is well above the 33 percent average this season. The lack of shot making has been the key of the Bison current six game losing streak.

It does not help that the Bison have been on the road a lot lately.

“With a younger group the road can be an adventure. I was pleased with the effort and the energy today,” Head coach Maren Walseth said.

The Bison average 55.5 points per game on the road through four games this season. At the Scheels Center, that number goes up to 64.

Walseth is a little worried about the lack of results going her team’s way.

“We are working with college students. We all want to see a W, we all want to see a victory,” Walseth said. “I wouldn’t say we were discouraged.”

Some bright spots for the Bison was the dominance in the paint. The Bison outscored the Broncos 17-8 down low. NDSU also out rebounded Western Michigan 36-29.

At the end of the night, Spier finished with a team high 15 points, along with 12 rebounds for a double-double. Thunstedt finished with 11 points, and was joined in double digits by Childers and Jacobson, each with 10.

The Bison hit the road once again with trips to Milwaukee and Oakland (Michigan) over the weekend before returning home to host UND at 7 p.m. Dec. 10.

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