Overtime was Hamling time in Bison win over Coyotes
North Dakota State swept the series from South Dakota for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
FARGO — There wasn’t much rocket science to North Dakota State’s plan when it counted in overtime Thursday night. Give the ball to Heaven Hamling, let her dribble the shot clock down and then try to create something.
She ended up creating a women’s basketball victory.
The senior guard hit two key shots in traffic, the latter with 11 seconds left, to give the Bison an 86-82 win over the University of South Dakota. The importance was not only in the standings — NDSU remained in second place in the Summit League at 8-3 — but in a team that appears to be learning how to win.
The Bison could have folded after giving up a lead late in regulation, but rebounded to sweep the regular season series from USD. The last time NDSU did that was before the Bison players were born in the 1999-2000 season.
“We’re a program now, we’re up there,” Hamling said. “We have people’s heads turning and we can compete, too.”
Both of Hamling’s field goals in the final 43 seconds were similar, with the 5-foot-8 guard dribbling into traffic against taller defenders, only to put the ball off the glass with her right hand extended as far as it could go to avoid it from getting blocked.
“Obviously I’m undersized so I really have to hold it out there and throw it up there so they can’t contest it,” she said. “We work a lot on that aspect in the offseason, just gotta figure out a way to get it up there.”
There wasn’t much diagramming on a board during time outs by head coach Jory Collins before Hamling’s two shots, either.
“When you have good players, you don’t need to overcomplicate it,” he said. “She’s made big shots and I trust her with the ball in those situations.”
USD’s Macy Guebert drilled a 3-pointer after Hamling’s field goal with 5.4 seconds left to pull USD within 84-82. The Coyotes immediately fouled Elle Evans, who drilled both free throws for a two-possession advantage.
The true freshman Evans didn’t have her best offensive night at 5 of 15 shooting, but had four blocked shots and was 8 of 8 from the free throw line to finish with 18 points.
“She was great on the defensive end,” Collins said. “Once you get your shot blocked a couple of times, you get more timid in there. She makes plays on both ends whether she’s making shots or not.”
NDSU had its chances to finish off the Coyotes in regulation. But USD’s Nicole Avila-Ambrosi’s 3-point hoop with 3.4 seconds remaining tied it at 71-71.
The Bison had the ball out of bounds near halfcourt after a time out, but the first two attempts were deflected out of bounds by USD defenders and, more importantly, took almost two seconds off the clock. The third attempt ended in a turnover.
“I thought we could have hung our heads at the end of regulation there and not come out in overtime playing the way we did,” Collins said. “We just had some guts there and some toughness.”
The Bison improved to 8-3 in the league with first place South Dakota State coming to Scheels Center on Saturday afternoon. NDSU is 14-7 overall and appears to be learning how to win games with only one player graduating after this season in center Taylor Brown.
“Obviously we’re really excited about this game and we know what it takes to win games like these,” said Bison guard Abby Schulte, who had a couple key hoops down the stretch in regulation. “I think we’ll have the energy and it’s just kind of about the mental preparation that we’re going to get into tomorrow and Saturday.”
It’s been a battle to piece together a lineup for the Coyotes, who have two players who started all 23 games. Nine different players started at least one game with injuries being the issue. They had eight available players for the Bison.
Nobody could get a handle on Hamling, who finished with 28 points and led the team with 8 rebounds.
“We wanted her to have the ball in her hands at the end,” Collins said. “She got down there, she’s a player … pivot, pivot, pivot and throw up a little jumper. I’ve seen it 1,000 times.”
USD 22 34 50 71 82
NDSU 23 36 50 71 86
USD (11-12, 7-5 Summit): Hansen 5-11 4-4 18, Duffney 6-11 9-10 21, Demers 3-6 1-2 7, Guebert 1-5 0-0 3, Larkins 8-18 3-5 19, Avila-Ambrosi 1-3 4-4 7, Hempe 2-3 0-0 4, Carson 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 27-59 21-25.
NDSU (14-7, 8-3 Summit): Brown 6-11 1-2 13, Behnke 1-5 4-7 6, Hamling 11-24 2-2 28, Evans 5-15 8-8 18, Schulte 5-10 1-3 12, Draper 0-0 2-2 2, Graham 1-6 0-0 2, Novak 1-1 0-1 2, Ekofo Yomane 1-1 0-0 3, Hildebrandt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 31-73 18-25.
Total fouls: USD 19, NDSU 2-. Fouled out: Demers. Rebounds: USD 34 (Larkins 12); NDSU 42 (Hamling 8). 3-point goals: USD 7-18 (Hansen 4-7, Duffey 0-1, Larkins , Carson ); NDSU 6-20 (Brown 0-1, Hamling 4-10, Evans 0-4, Schulte 1-2, Graham 0-2, Ekofo Yomane 1-1). Assists: USD 13 (Larkins 9); NDSU 12 (Schulte 3). Turnovers: USD 13 (Guebert, Larkins 3); NDSU 9 (fourth with 2). A-712.