Whittle, Yaggie lead Bison to first Summit League women's basketball win of the season

FARGO-North Dakota State senior Marena Whittle was a statistical machine Saturday afternoon, piling up the points, rebounds and assists at a frantic pace. She finished, in that order, with 33, 18 and 6.

FARGO-North Dakota State senior Marena Whittle was a statistical machine Saturday afternoon, piling up the points, rebounds and assists at a frantic pace. She finished, in that order, with 33, 18 and 6.

The Bison defeated Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne 94-85 at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse with various contributions throughout the lineup, perhaps none more important than a career game from sophomore Brooke Yaggie. Progress has come steadily and consistently this year and her 25 points helped pave the way for NDSU's first Summit League women's basketball win. It was almost double her season point total from a year ago when she appeared in just 11 games.

"I've been struggling lately so I've gone more to attacking," Yaggie said. "It feels great, but the win feels better."

Yaggie was 6 of 10 from the field, a perfect 12 of 12 at the free-throw line and took a couple of charges on defense for good all-around game measure.

Both teams came in winless in the league and are battling to make the Summit tournament, with the top eight making it to Sioux Falls in the nine-team conference. It was the 10th straight loss for the Mastodons, who fell to 0-7 in the Summit and 4-16 overall.


NDSU moved to 1-7 and 6-15 overall, but still has work to do to stay out of the cellar with five of its last eight games on the road.

"I told coach we're on a winning streak right now," Whittle said. "Hopefully this starts us knowing what we need to do for 40 minutes. We weren't playing our best the whole game but we were fighting the whole game. Hopefully we're on the rise."

The Bison had their accuracy eye in the first half, shooting 56 percent. Whittle and Yaggie combined for 11 of 14 field goals in the first half, but that wasn't enough to prevent Fort Wayne from taking a 38-36 lead. Turnovers were the big culprit-the Bison had 11 to the Mastodons' two.

The Bison took care of that problem in the second half and the scoreboard reflected it. It took until almost halfway into the fourth quarter for it to pay off, but back-to-back 3-point field goals from Whittle and Taylor Thunstedt gave the Bison a 70-63 lead, their biggest of the game.

"It was earned," Bison head coach Maren Walseth said of the win. "The players have worked very hard and have come to the gym focused and with great effort. It was well-earned and well-deserved."

It wasn't long before that advantage was double digits and the Bison enjoyed a relatively stress-free last two minutes. Helping that: 31 of 36 for the game at the free-throw line with Yaggie leading the way. Not happy with the way she was shooting from the line, she stay in the gym after a morning shootaround until she hit 10 straight, which she did.

"I've been kind of iffy from the line, I knew I could do better," she said.

IPFW 21 17 20 27-85


NDSU 16 20 24 34-94

IPFW (4-16, 0-7 Summit): Gary 4-8 1-2 9, Ogle 1-8 2-2 5, Carter 8-17 0-0 17, Fallis 2-5 2-2 6, Rinehart 5-14 8-9 18, McCarver 1-4 0-0 2, Fisher 9-15 3-4 21, Young 0-0 1-2 1, Bunch 2-5 2-2 6. Totals: 32-77 19-23 85.

NDSU (6-15, 1-7 Summit): Spier 1-4 2-4 4, Jones 3-5 1-1 7, Yaggie 6-10 12-12 25, Thunstedt 5-13 5-6 19, Whittle 11-18 9-11 33, Gamble 0-0 0-0 0, Childers 2-5 2-2 6, Wiebe 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 28-56 31-36 94.

Total fouls: IPFW 31, NDSU 20. Fouled out: Childers, Fisher, Rinehart. Rebounds: IPFW 33 (Gary, Fisher 6); NDSU 42 (Whittle 18). 3-point goals: IPFW 2-17 (Ogle 1-7, Carter 1-4, Rinehart 0-2, McCarver 0-2, Bunch 0-1); NDSU 7-19 (Thunstedt 4-11, Whittle 2-4, Yaggie 1-3, Childers 0-1). Assists: IPFW 8 (Carter 4); NDSU 21 (Whittle 6). Turnovers: IPFW 10 (Fisher 4); NDSU 19 (Thunstedt, Whittle 4). A-459.

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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