Efficient shooting early and a strong defensive effort lead Bison to victory 96-45.
The North Dakota State University women’s basketball team never trailed on Monday, as they won their home opener 96-45 against the Valley City State University Vikings.
The Bison (2-0) came out of the gates swinging, as they caused and converted off of three steals to take an early 9-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game. The Herd kept their momentum after a VCSU timeout, relentlessly attacking the Vikings on the fast break, extending their lead to 18-2. Over the rest of the first quarter, the Bison impressed on defense, racking up six forced turnovers, with four steals and two blocks. Sophomore forward Abbie Draper continued to make her presence known off of the bench, as she scored seven points on 100 percent shooting to energize the Bison throughout the quarter. The Bison as a team shot 66.7 percent from the field in the first quarter, as they took a commanding 29-12 lead heading into the second.
The second was much of the same story for NDSU, as the Herd continued to force Valley City turnovers and turn their woes into points on the fast break. The Bison maintained their strong defense, as they held the Vikings to only eight points in the quarter. The Bison shot an impressive 80 percent from the three-point line, as they surged to a 62-20 lead to end the half.
NDSU slowed down during the early parts of the third, as they struggled with turnovers. Luckily for the Herd, VCSU could not get anything going for them, as they shot an abysmal 8 percent from the field. Neither team was able to dictate the pace of the quarter, as both teams struggled to consistently score. This continued up until the 56-second mark, when Bison senior guard Heaven Hamling made a flashy layup, got a steal and made an assist to forward Taylor Brown within a matter of 20 seconds, providing the Herd a spark to end the quarter on a 6-0 run, putting NDSU up 81-32.
While the game was effectively put away by the start of the fourth, the Bison got an opportunity to allow their bench to gel together on the court. This allowed 12 Bison in total to get on the court and gain experience. The Herd put up 50 points in the paint and 20 fast break points over the course of the game, leading to a 96-45 victory.
The Bison look to continue their winning streak, as the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota (2-0) come to Fargo in a crucial non-conference game at the Scheels Center. The Herd will look to contain the Gophers’ freshman guard Mara Braun, who is averaging 27.5 points a game this season. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on WDAY Xtra and ESPN+ or available to listeners on Bison 1660AM. Student tickets are available at www.gobison.com/Students.