Bison women’s basketball season ends with a rough loss to Oregon

A huge mid-game run allows the Ducks to sail to victory, 96-57

The North Dakota State University women’s basketball team traveled to Eugene, Ore., to face off against the University of Oregon Ducks in the first game of the 2023 Women’s National Invitational Tournament on Friday.

NDSU (18-11, 12-6 Summit) looked to bounce back from a devastating loss to Kansas City in the Summit League Tournament two weeks prior.

Oregon finished seventh in the Pac-12 with a record of 17-14, going 7-11 in conference play. In their last game prior to the NIT, the Ducks dropped a quarterfinal matchup with Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament.

NDSU converted five Oregon turnovers into points, allowing them to keep pace with the Ducks. The teams battled close, yet the Ducks’ relentless offense carried them to a 19-15 lead after the first quarter.

The Bison continued to keep the game within reach in the early moments of the second quarter, taking a timeout down 23-19 with 6:29 to play in the half. Oregon came out of the timeout on fire, while the Herd’s shooting went cold. Ducks guard Te-Hina Paopao shined in an 18-3 run that shifted all the momentum their way. NDSU could not stabilize and sustain the Ducks’ run as they went into halftime trailing, 41-22. The Bison shot a mere 21.43 percent from the field and 16 percent from three-point range in the quarter.

The Ducks kept their foot on the gas in the third quarter, continuing to make shots and play with dominance on defense. Oregon shot a whopping 62.5 percent from the field in the third quarter, enabling them to sail to a 96-57 victory.

NDSU guard Heaven Hamling drives for a layup against Oregon’s Phillipina Kyei in a Women’s NIT first-round game at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. The Ducks ended the Bison’s season in a 96-57 rout. Photo Courtesy | Craig Strobeck

Te-Hina Paopao led both teams in scoring with 24 points including six three-pointers. NDSU guard Heaven Hamling contributed 16 points in the loss. Elle Evans scored 15 for the Herd. In her 125th career game played, forward Taylor Brown notched 10 points, shooting 4-13 from the field.

Although the result was less than satisfactory, this post-season appearance hopefully marks the first of many for the Bison. NDSU bids farewell to three graduates, Rachel Novak, Emily Behnke and Taylor Brown. A notable exception is senior Heaven Hamling, who will be returning for another year.  With the continued growth of freshmen such as Elle Evans, Hamling’s return and a quality recruiting class coming in, there is a lot to be optimistic about rolling into next season.

The Herd ends the 2022-23 campaign with an 18-12 record, their best overall since joining Division I.

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