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Bison send coach Ruley out in style

She stalked the sideline like any other game in the last 29 years. Only this wasn't just another game for Amy Ruley. It was her last as the North Dakota State head women's basketball coach and everybody in the Bison Sports Arena knew it. Cameras ...

Amy Ruley is congratulated by her players

She stalked the sideline like any other game in the last 29 years. Only this wasn't just another game for Amy Ruley.

It was her last as the North Dakota State head women's basketball coach and everybody in the Bison Sports Arena knew it. Cameras were pointed at her all night. There were a few tears in her players' eyes during pre-game introductions, followed by a rousing standing ovation for Ruley.

"We said we were going to play for each other and play for coach Ruley," said senior guard Emily Moran.

The emotional fallout of Ruley's resignation earlier in the day may have affected the Bison players for the first couple of minutes. But they shot an uncanny 78 percent in the first half, hitting 21 of 27 shots and went on to defeat Centenary College

93-64 Monday night before 2,057 appreciative fans.

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"It's what we wanted for our last game as seniors - to make it memorable," Moran said.

NDSU was 8 of 11 from

3-point range in the first 20 minutes, essentially ending Ruley's one-game farewell tour by halftime. NDSU led 55-32.

The players had no idea Ruley was going to resign until she told them after the morning shoot-around practice. Moran called the meeting "sad," but at the same time she said the team was assured the program would remain strong.

"I never saw that one coming," said junior center Jerri Penley. "I went home and just thought about it and it still hasn't sunk in yet."

Said forward Brenda Slyt: "We were all pretty shocked about it."

It was also the last game for five Bison seniors and Moran and Slyt made it count. Moran finished with 23 points on 8 of 10 field goals - 6 of 7 from 3-point range.

"I got nervous when I looked at Brenda and she was crying," Ruley said. "The biggest thing is you have to try and ease their minds."

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Whatever the coach said, it worked. Slyt and forward Lisa Bue each had 19 points. Ironically, Moran challenged the school record of 3-pointers made in one game of nine held by Bue's older sister Beth. But she didn't play much of the second half because of the blowout.

The win gave the Bison a share of second place in the Summit League at 12-6. At 17-11, NDSU has an outside shot at being selected for the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Ruley said a tourney official contacted NDSU for additional information.

"But we're not counting on it," she said.

If the WNIT doesn't call, it will end an incredible coaching run. Fittingly, Ruley went out on a hot streak. The Bison won seven of their last eight games, ending her career record at 671-198.

There was no letdown with the "coach" in Ruley. Up 67-32 early in the second half, she got miffed when her team gave up an offensive rebound to the Ladies.

A couple of minutes later, with the score the same, she looked displeased at her team's third straight turnover. Another mistake brought an irked facial expression.

Not happy with her team's play, it wasn't long before she sent four substitutes into the game.

She got the job in 1979 and coached until the final whistle.

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CC (4-24, 1-17 Summit): Farrell 5-10 4-4 14, Jackson 2-11 4-5 8, Forest 4-11 1-2 9, Zaloga 2-9 1-2 6, Joseph 6-10 4-4 17, Jefferson 0-1 0-0 0, Hale 3-7 3-5 10, Weiler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-60 17-22 64

NDSU (17-11, 12-6): Bue 6-10 7-10 19, Slyt 7-12 1-2 19, Penley 4-7 2-2 10, Girodat 2-6 0-0 5, Moran 8-10 1-2 23, Walseth 1-2 0-0 2, Hodgson 2-5 0-0 6, Plucker 1-3 0-0 2, Zaruba 2-4 3-3 7, Trecker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 33-60 14-19 93.

Halftime: NDSU 55, CC 32. Total fouls: CC 17, NDSU 17. Fouled out: Zaruba. Rebounds: CC 33 (Farrell 7); NDSU 34 (Bue 9). 3-point goals: CC 3-8 (Farrell 0-1, Zaloga 1-5, Joseph 1-1, Hale 1-1); NDSU 13-23 (Bue 0-1, Slyt 4-7, Walseth 0-1, Girodat 1-2, Moran 6-7, Hodgson 2-2, Penley 0-2, Plucker 0-1). Assists: CC 11 (Zaloga 5); NDSU 25 (Bue, Girodat 5). Turnovers: CC 20 (Zaloga 7); NDSU 15 (Moran 5). A-2,057.

Ruley record

The year-by-year record for head women's basketball coach Amy Ruley in her 29 years at North Dakota State:

Year Record Pct

2007-08 17-11 .60.7

2006-07 14-11 .56.0

2005-06 9-17 .34.6

2004-05 26-1 .96.3

2003-04 24-7 .77.4

2002-03 26-7 .78.8

2001-02 18-10 .64.3

2000-01 25-8 .75.7

1999-00 28-4 .87.5

1998-99 24-5 .82.8

1997-98 22-6 .78.6

1996-97 28-1 .96.6

1995-96 30-2 .93.8

1994-95 32-0 1.000

1993-94 27-5 .84.4

1992-93 30-2 .93.8

1991-92 29-4 .87.9

1990-91 31-2 .93.9

1989-90 25-5 .83.3

1988-89 23-7 .76.7

1987-88 28-3 .90.3

1986-87 26-4 .86.7

1985-86 24-9 .72.7

1984-85 19-8 .70.4

1983-84 15-12 .55.6

1982-83 16-10 .61.5

1981-82 22-10 .68.8

1980-81 19-12 .61.3

1979-80 14-15 .48.3

Career 671-198 .77.2

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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