FARGO — Never mind that for three quarters North Dakota State blew Purdue-Fort Wayne out of Fargo. The Mastodons are the one women’s basketball opponent the Bison have commonly beaten in the last several years.
This night at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex belonged to Michelle Gaislerova. The junior hit two milestones in the span of one quarter that could go down as the rarest daily double in NCAA history in this regard: She went over 1,000 career points in the same 10 minutes she broke the Division I record for consecutive free throws made and now has 72 in a row.
“Really special,” Gaislerova said. “I’m super thankful for it and I’m happy to represent NDSU for that.”
It was part of an easy 74-53 victory over a Mastodons team that has 12 on the roster but suited up only eight players against NDSU. For a Bison program that has been searching for consistent positive news for years, Thursday night was yet another step in that direction.
“I love that,” Gaislerova said. “I’m happy where our program is going. Things are getting better and I’m happy to be a part of that. I’m excited to see what our next steps can be.”
The Bison didn’t wait around to take a big lead and neither did Gaislerova. It took her only 40 seconds to reach 1,000 points. It was a 3-point play and the free throw left her one short of the NCAA record.
It was part of an eventful first several minutes. Bison head coach Jory Collins received a quick technical foul while NDSU put more players on the floor (nine) than the Mastodons had available for the game.
Gaislerova broke the free-throw mark with 52 seconds left in the quarter, making three in a row after being fouled on a 3-point shot attempt. None appeared even close to missing, with her first four hardly even touching the rim.
The record was an exercise in not talking about it for reasons of not putting more pressure on the player. Gaislerova didn’t know until Collins told her after the game.
“Nobody said anything to Michelle about it and I didn’t know if she knew,” he said. “It was pretty obvious after the game she didn’t have any idea she was close to that. She’s just automatic when she gets up there. She’s very confident, has the same release every time and it’s like a machine.”
As teammate Raquel Terrer van Gool said, “I’m like, I’m not going to put more pressure on her. Seventy-two? Wow. That’s incredible. I’m happy for her.”
The 72 straight broke the mark set by Lauren Prochaska from Bowling Green in 2011. Gaislerova hit her last 22 free throws last season and came into Thursday night with 46 straight.
The overall NCAA record is held by Monica Burns of Division II Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.), who made 118 in a row in 2017-18.
“It’s awesome, it’s cool to have an NCAA record holder on your team,” said Collins, before being asked on the positivity it brings a program. “Anything positive we can put out there is great. It’s a reflection of Michelle’s work ethic and commitment to her craft. To do it at a level that is record breaking and hasn’t been done at that level is a special thing.”
Gaislerova came into the game with 999 career points, and became the 34th player in program history to go over 1,000 and the seventh to do it in the Division I era that began in 2004.
She led NDSU with 18 points and six rebounds. Terrer van Gool added 12 points.
The win, the fourth in the last six games, puts the Bison firmly in the middle of the Summit League pack at 5-7 and already is the most league victories since the 2014-15 team went 7-9.
Still, overall, it wasn’t a performance the Bison will put on a highlight film.
“It’s hard to win in February so I’m happy for our team with the result,” Collins said. “But I’m not pleased with how we played, actually. Not a ton of energy … a mental struggle. We’re just not mature enough and probably don’t have the leadership to pull a group out of that. It just wasn’t fun to watch, but I’m proud of them for getting the (W).”
PFW 7 19 37 53
NDSU 24 40 59 74
PFW (5-20, 1-11 Summit): Dykstra 2-7 2-2 6, Sellers 3-5 2-2 9, Ott 0-8 3-4 3, Albrecht 1-7 2-2 4, Lappenkuper 2-7 0-0 5, Hess 3-5 1-2 10, Hughes 4-11 0-0 10. Totals: 17-55 10-12.
NDSU (8-16, 5-7 Summit): Nudell 2-3 1-2 6, Dietz 3-6 2-2 8, Zivaljevic 1-1 0-0 2, Cobbins 2-3 2-2 7, Gaislerova 6-8 4-4 18, Voegeli 1-4 2-4 4, Scales 3-11 1-1 7, Rimdal 1-2 0-0 3, Terrer van Gool 4-6 4-4 12, Skibiel 3-7 1-1 7. Totals: 26-51 17-22.
Total fouls: PFW 11, NDSU 20. Fouled out: none. Technical foul: NDSU coach Collins. Rebounds: PFW 25 (Dykstra 6); NDSU 40 (Three with 6). 3-point goals: PFW 9-28 (Sellers 1-2, Ott 0-3, Albrecht 0-4, Lappenkuper 1-4, Hess 3-5, Hughes 2-6, Nicholls 2-4); NDSU 5-10 (Nudell 1-2, Cobbins 2-2, Zivaljevic 0-2, Gaislerova 2-3, Scales 0-2, Rimdal 1-1, Skibiel 0-2). Assists: PFW 10 (Ott 4); NDSU 13 (Gaislerova 4). Turnovers: PFW 10 (four with 2); NDSU 12 (Gaislerova 3). A-358.