Women’s Basketball Loses to Minnesota in the Super 16 Round but Celebrates Their History-Making Season

The Bison women’s basketball team closed a 16-point gap in the Super 16 Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) before losing in the last seconds to Minnesota, 69-65. The game took place in Williams Arena in Minneapolis in front of 2,367 fans. 

The loss wraps up NDSU’s season with an overall 22-12 record, achieving the most wins in Division I history for the team. 

In the second frame, the Bison and Gophers were going back to back on the scoreboard, with a jumper in the paint from Miriley Simon, giving NDSU a one-point lead; then the Gopher’s Amaya Battle scored a layup; then a three-pointer from Elle Evans bringing the score to 26-24. 

Throughout the third quarter, Minnesota gained a 16-point lead, gaining momentum with a 58-42 point lead. In the fourth, the momentum was transferred to NDSU, by capturing the points back with a 13-point run for the first part of the fourth. In the last two minutes of the game, the Bison were up, but in the final seconds, the Gophers gained points from free throws. 

Elle Evans led the way for the Bison with 18 points and six rebounds. Miriley Simon with 12 points and three rebounds, in just 15 minutes on the court. Heaven Hamling clutched a career-high six assists, nine points, and five rebounds. 

NDSU shot a 48.1 percent (25-52) average from the field and a 78.6 percent (11-14) average from the line. The team lead changed eight times, and the scores were tied up four times. 

The University of Minnesota moved on to the next round of the WNIT in the Super Eight to play Wyoming. 

Coaching News

Jory Collins 

NDSU women’s basketball and the athletic department announced a contract extension for head coach Jory Collins. The new five-year extension will keep him as head coach into the 2028-29 season. 

This year is Collins’ fifth season with the Bison, and he has made a major impact on the program since he has been on campus. Collins led the Bison to a 22-11 overall record for this season, the most wins in Division I history. Not to mention, before heading to the Summit League Tournament, NDSU won 13 games in conference play, the most during its 17-year tenure in the league.

His 77-69 overall record with the Bison, puts him second in NDSU history for most wins, behind Amy Ruley. Collins has also been said to be an all-around supportive coach for academic achievements, personal growth and the impact on the Fargo and NDSU community. With 10 All-Summit League selections, Elle Evans being one of them, Collins goes on to prove his impactful contributions to the program. 

Dylan Geissert 

Dylan Giessert moved up the coaching ranks to associate head coach after spending the last four seasons with NDSU. Geissert was a graduate student manager at the University of Kansas from 2017-19 and then moved to coaching for the women’s Emporia State women’s basketball team as a coaching male practice player. In recent years, he has been working under Collins as a student assistant for three seasons. 

Player Highlights 

Heaven Hamling 

As a senior from Grand Rapids, Minn., Heaven Hamling has been nothing less than a program changer for her time with the NDSU women’s basketball team. Let’s check out her stats: 

– Lead scorer in the Division I era with 1,713 points 

– Selected to the Preseason All-Summit League First Team this season 

– Earned a spot in the All-Summit League Second Team 

– Ranks seventh for most three-pointers in a single season, with 71 three-pointers

-In the Summit League: ranked sixth for steals, with a total of 28 in the league; in her career: has reached 1,887 career points, including one season at Stephen F. Austin in 2018-19

– In her career: ranks 13th in the nation for NCAA DI women’s basketball in three-pointers. This includes Caitlin Clark at the number one spot with 528 for the Iowa Hawkeyes 

– NDSU history numbers: fourth with 1713 points, sixth with 14.8 scoring average, second with 270 three-pointers, fifth with .845 free throw percentage, third with 446 defensive rebounds, ninth with 343 assists, and sixth with 115 for games started 

Elle Evans 

The 6’3 sophomore guard from Edwardsville, Illinois, Elle Evans has been making her mark as a Bison in just the short amount of time she’s been on campus. Yeah, she has been cookin’, so let’s look: 

– Ranks second in the country with a 93.4 percent free throw percentage and sixth with a 45.3 percent three-point average 

– Selected as a Preseason All-Summit League First Team and All-Defensive Team – First player in program history to be named the Summit League Freshman of the Year – Ranks fifth-most in a single season to hit 73 three-pointers 

– Domination in Summit League Play: The only player to average at least 18 points a game and shoot over 50 percent from both the field and the three point line. Led the conference by shooting 55.3 percent for three. Ranked third in the conference by averaging 18.4 points per game. Shot 53.6 percent from the field. 2nd in the league for blocks, with a team-high 42 blocks. 

– NDSU history numbers: fifth with 73 three-pointers made and second with 93.4 free throw percentage 

*Although only two names are listed, the Bison as a team deserve equal recognition for their record-breaking 2023-24 season. This includes Abbie Draper, Leah Makenzie, Abby Graham, Taryn Hamling, Abby Schulte, Avery Koenen, Miriley Simon, Abby Krzewinski and all the coaches and staff that made this season. 

Note from Libby:


In case you haven’t noticed, women’s college ball is gaining the recognition it’s been missing for years. It’s no longer heavily perceived as “just for fun” or a “side” to men’s basketball. Many factors go into this, but specifically, athletes like Caitlin Clark (Iowa), Angel Reese (LSU), Paige Bueckers (UConn), JuJu Watkins (USC) and Kamilla Cardoso (South Carolina) have broken barriers for women’s basketball and have gained respect for women’s game as a whole. But for NDSU, I can feel a Summit League championship coming in the near future, so be a part of it and engage in the games and with the team!

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