Bison fall short to end tournament run

John Swanson | The Spectrum
The Rabbit’s end a fun Bison season.

The Bison women’s team appears to have a bright future.

The NDSU women could not get past the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Monday in the Summit League semi-finals. The Jacks never really allowed the Bison to get going, dominated defensively right from the jump. The game ended 76-56 but was competitive for most of it.

Playing her final game in a Bison uniform, Michelle Gaislerova led the team in scoring with 14 points with freshman Ryan Cobbins just behind her with 12 points added. Also, in her final game, senior Rylee Nudell fell just short of double digits scoring nine points and leading the Bison in rebounds (6).

The Herd was able to get good looks under the rim, but couldn’t get the ball into the basket. The team played hard and drew more fouls in the first quarter. Cobbins and Gaislerova battled in the paint throughout the game but had a hard time fully breaking through the Jack’s stout defense.

The Bison went into halftime down by eight and were not able to mount a second-half comeback. The team turned over the ball twice at the start of the third quarter. Coach Jory Collins told reporters that the game was “an uphill battle” from that point on.  

SDSU freshman Tori Nelson led the game in points (21), and 3-pointers (3). The 6’1″ forward from Mendota Heights, Minnesota played just over 23 minutes but somehow managed to never get to the free-throw line. The Jacks program has been good for years but hasn’t seemed to be able to get past the University of South Dakota this season. This could change on Tuesday though when they take on the Coyotes in the finals.

This was the first time since 2009 that the Bison women were able to pull out a win in the postseason. First-year head coach Jory Collins told reporters that he was excited to see what the future holds for the team and expects the Bison to keep improving.

The Herd has come a long way after starting the season 1-9. Obviously an 11-19 record is not ideal, but a Summit League tournament win and a solid second half of the season is a massive step in the right direction for a team that hasn’t caught a lot of breaks in recent years.

The team has plenty of younger talent with freshman Ryan Cobbins who looked excellent in Monday’s game, as well as SMU transfer Marie Olson who will be making her Bison debut next season. The women’s team seems to be heading in the right direction under Coach Collins and will be one to watch for next season.

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