What has happened to Bison women's basketball?

It may be the question I get asked most when I'm out.

The answer? Coaching and recruiting.

Once the crown jewel of the North Dakota State athletic department, winners of five Divsion 2 national championships, the women's program has become the butt of jokes on social media.

It's been a steady decline since Amy Ruley stepped down in 2008, Caroyln DeHoff had her struggles and things haven't got any better since Maren Walseth took over in 2014.

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NDSU has only posted two winning seasons in the last decade.

Alums from different eras have all come to me asking me what's wrong with the Bison?

Why aren't they getting this player?

There's a definite frustration from these players, but none would go on camera to discuss their frustrations with the program. Recruiting is a hot topic for Bison basketball fans. It's become a trend where an talented player from this area won't even get a look from NDSU.

Fargo's Lexi Klabo went to UND. Win-E-Mac's Madison McKeever to USD. Tylee Irwin from Wahpeton is at SDSU. Sheyenne's Maggie Manson, who's dad, Ross is a former NDSU basketball standout has signed at UND.

I asked Walseth about this topic this summer.

"We've got four North Dakota kids on the roster, two from Fargo, those are who I'm excited about, who found us." Walseth said.

Recruiting local kids isn't the end all, be all, but you can't ignore your own backyard. That has killed NDSU and it may still hurt for a while yet.

NDSU deputy athletic director Todd Phelps, who oversees women's basketball wrote in Walseth's evaluation that the "women's basketball program is continuing to take steps towards being a contender in the Summit League, recognizing it will take time to achieve that."

I'm not sure if Phelps and I are watching the same product.

Walseth has a year left on her contract.

Is NDSU willing to wait longer or keep seeing an empty SHAC and recruits go elsewhere?

That's the question NDSU has to answer.