Bison women defeat South Dakota 57-50

North Dakota State’s Katie Birkel scored 18 of her 24 points in the second half and propelled the Bison to a 57-50 win over South Dakota on Saturday night in the DakotaDome. The loss dropped the Coyotes (11-12, 6-4 Summit) to third place in the Summit League standings.

South Dakota was led offensively by Nicole Seekamp’s 19 points on 8 of 15 shooting, including three 3-point baskets down the stretch of the second half to keep the Coyotes within striking distance. Polly Harrington recorded her third double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Bison forward Dani DeGagne scored seven points in the game’s final three minutes and finished the night with 17. DeGange added eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

The Coyotes ended the first half on an 11-0 run to knot the score at 21-21, holding the Bison (8-14, 4-6 Summit) scoreless over the last 6:41 in doing so. The two teams traded the lead eight times in a back-and-forth second half, but NDSU took the lead for good, 43-41, on a Birkel layup with 4:21 to play.

Down three points with 1:08 left in the game, the Coyotes forced a shot clock violation and received the ball with a chance to tie the score. Alexis Yackley got a good look at a 3, but her shot rimmed out and DeGagne hit both free throws to give the Bison a two-possession lead. North Dakota State hit all six of their foul shots in the final 23 seconds to hold on for the victory and split the season series between the two teams.

It was a tough offensive night for the Coyotes, who were leading the league in shooting (45 percent) coming into the game but hit only 21 of their 60 attempts tonight including five of 26 3-pointers. The ‘Yotes were outrebounded for just the fourth time all season (39-38).

Yackley handed out six assists to move into fifth-place on the Coyotes career assist leaderboard (382), overtaking Shelby Peterson (1990-94, 380 assists) in the process.

USD will take the court again on Saturday against Kansas City in Vermillion. Game time is set for 2 p.m. in the DakotaDome.

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