Marena Whittle May Be Shooting Too Much

The win was sexy by no means, but North Dakota State women’s basketball team is on an early two-game winning streak after defeating Valley City State 85-77 Thursday at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.

“Always thankful and happy to get a win,” head coach Maren Walseth said. “Kudos to Valley City State and Jill DeVries, just the effort that her players put forth the entire time even when they were a little bit, her kids never gave up.”

NDSU had four student-athletes that scored in the double-digits against the Vikings. Brianna Jones finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting.

Emily Spier added 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Taylor Thunstedt finished with 17 points and went 3-for-5 from the three-point line.

Marena Whittle was the leading scorer, wearing a mask because of a nose injury, as she finished the game with 32 points on 10-of-18 shooting and hauled down 10 rebounds. Twelve of her 32 points came from the free throw line.

“They were definitely doubling inside, which made the outside shots a lot easier,and then we always just ran on them,” Whittle said about her second half success.

But the bigger question: is Whittle hurting the team by shooting too much?

In NDSU’s first game of the season against New Mexico State, Whittle took 14 total shots in 28 minutes. In NDSU’s next game against College of St. Mary, Whittle finished 7-for-20 with 18 points in 35 minutes. Against VCSU, Whittle took 18 total shots.

It’s no doubt that she likes to force shots, and going into halftime Thursday she was 4-for-10 with 10 points.

A few of those 10 shots were questionable, but Walseth said after the game against the Vikings that she and Whittle have talked about what’s a good shot versues a great shot.

“We actually talked about that at halftime,” Walseth said. “I do think that Marena still balancing the ‘what does my team need me to do’ and ‘where I’m I comfortable’ and (those) are two very different things and she puts a little more pressure on herself than I think is necessary.”

The Bison are 2-1, yet, it’s very early in the season, but someone needs to pick up the scoring that Brooke LeMar left behind.

If Whittle forces too many shots and the Bison continue to win, Walseth may just let it slide.

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