Kansas City rallies in fourth quarter to defeat Bison women
Bison senior Dietz records 100th career start.
FARGO — The hope for the North Dakota State women’s basketball team on Thursday was to make senior Emily Dietz’s 100th career start some sort of celebration. She already reached 1,000 career points and is only the third player in the Division I era to surpass 600 rebounds.
Probably more impressive is she’s played 102 straight games, a statistical marvel in this day and age of COVID-19 protocols. So far, she’s survived two straight years of it.
“I’m getting old, but still loving it,” Dietz said. “It’s been a blessing.”
Kansas City squashed the party. The Roos were the better team in the fourth quarter to take a 67-62 Summit League win at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
“Our margin for error is really small,” said Bison head coach Jory Collins.
The margin went down to the last couple of possessions. NDSU had its chances in the final minute. But the Bison turned it over with 40 seconds left and failed to get a key defensive rebound in the final 10 seconds.
Trailing 63-62, KC missed a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, but the Roos got the offensive rebound with nine seconds remaining. Naomie Alnatas’ two free throws at 9.3 seconds made it 65-62, giving the Bison one last shot with a 3-pointer.
Heaven Hamling’s long attempt hit the back rim and fell off. Alnatas’ layup accounted for the final score.
The Bison were without three role players because of illness: guards Kylie Strop and Reneya Hopkins and forward Emily Behnke. It made for another four-quarter game for Hamling, the team’s leading scorer who came in playing 40 minutes in the prior two games.
It was not an easy four quarters, either. Hamling didn’t score in the first half, although the Bison put on a late run to take a 32-30 halftime lead. The Bison made it tough on the Roos with solid defense, and thanks to a late surge of 3-pointers, took their largest lead of the game, 52-42, into the fourth quarter.
Four hoops from beyond the arc, two by NDSU freshman Katie Hildebrandt, was the best offensive surge by either team.
The Roos answered with an offensive spurt of their own with an 11-2 run to start the final quarter. Hamling stopped it with her first bucket of the game.
But Kansas City got a key 3-point play from Brooklyn McDavid to take a 61-60 lead with two minutes remaining, making it a possession game down the stretch.
“Obviously frustrated and disappointed to blow a second-half lead,” Collins said. “I really liked some of the things we were doing offensively, I thought we got the looks we wanted and I thought we were decent on the defensive end. It came down to the last five, six minutes and strange as it sounds, I think we fell down three or four times, two times with the ball that turned into turnovers.”
It was a tough start to a four-game home stand for NDSU, which hosts Oral Roberts on Saturday. The second straight home loss left the Bison 3-5 in the league and 7-11 overall.
Dietz came within one rebound of a double-double with 17 points and nine boards. Ryan Cobbins had 17 points, including 4 of 7 3-pointers.
“We’ll watch film tomorrow and learn from it,” Dietz said, “and continue to take steps.”