Bison women ready for true test: NCC

North Dakota State freshman guard Katie Lorenz has traveled the country in a span of just 13 games with the Bison. It's been an educational experience.

North Dakota State freshman guard Katie Lorenz has traveled the country in a span of just 13 games with the Bison. It's been an educational experience.

Today signals the start of another lesson in women's basketball. The North Central Conference is more of a tour of duty than a sightseeing event.

"It's so much more physical," said Bison senior forward Beth Bue. "And that was a rude awakening."

NDSU has woken from last year's sleepy performance mostly due to the floor play of Lorenz, the shooting of Bue, the versatility of forward Lacey Johnson, the athletic ability of guard Angie Froehlich and an inside game that has combined for solid games.

Lorenz, last year's North Dakota Miss Basketball, is curious about the league atmosphere, which starts tonight at Nebraska-Omaha.


She's wondering about the crowds, the teams and the road factors like the altitude of Colorado.

"They say every game is always close and the intensity level increases," Lorenz said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to handle it."

The fourth-ranked Bison,

12-1, are one of five NCC teams to handle their nonconference schedule with precision. No. 1-ranked South Dakota State is 11-0, No. 6 North Dakota is 10-1, No. 14 South Dakota is 10-1 and Augustana is 12-2.

"I see some really good teams in the one through five spots," said USD head coach Chad Lavin. "The worst thing is the other teams are very good and capable of beating anybody."

NDSU found that out last year. The Bison were swept at Omaha and Northern Colorado last year -- the first time that ever happened. Head coach Amy Ruley, disgusted with her team's lackadaisical play, gave her team a rare chewing out after the UNC loss.

"She was pretty steamed, as we all were," Bue said. "We have some revenge to take care of on this trip."

NDSU put last season's disappointment -- it did not qualify for the North Central Regional for the first time since 1985 -- to rest with its solid start.


The five starters -- Lorenz, Froehlich, Johnson, Bue and Michelle Fricke -- are all averaging between Johnson's 9.2 and Bue's 16.6 points per game.

It starts with Lorenz, the team's quarterback. She has almost a 2 to 1 assists to turnovers ratio by demonstrating the poise of a veteran.

"She's proven she's ready to play," Ruley said.

She did it in Florida at the Disney Classic, in the Pacific Northwest at the Western Washington tournament and several points between.

"It's a great opportunity and a great experience that they offer to us," Lorenz said.

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

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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