NDSU Athletics The North Dakota State women's basketball team (10-17, 6-9 Summit League) rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat the Fort Wayne Mastodons (9-18, 3-11 Summit League), 72-66, on Saturday, Feb. 21, inside the Gates Sports Center. The victory snapped a seven-game losing skid for the Bison and was the first win in Fort Wayne for NDSU since the 2011-12 season.
Brooke LeMar led the Bison with a game-high 23 points and eight assists, while Holly Johnson netted 17 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Taylor Thunstedt also reached double figures for the Bison, scoring 12 points to go along with a game-high three steals.
Trailing 36-25 with 19 minutes remaining in the second half, the Bison put together an 11-0 run to knot the game at 36 after Johnson converted a layup with 14:25 to go in the stanza. After Fort Wayne regained a 38-37 lead with 13:02 to go, Thunstedt gave the Bison their first lead of the game, 39-38, less than a minute later after she stole a pass and converted a layup.
The North Dakota State lead would get to as much as nine before the Mastodons put together a 10-4 spurt from 4:00 to 2:23 remaining to cut the Bison advantage to 62-60 after a layup from Kamilah Carter.
NDSU pushed its lead back to five after Johnson was fouled on a made layup and converted the bonus free-throw with 1:48 on the clock, but Fort Wayne's Allyson Bunch made three foul shots after she was fouled on a three-point attempt to cut the advantage back to two with 1:36 remaining.
North Dakota State responded, though, pushing its lead to 68-63 after Johnson drilled a trey from the left elbow on a pass from LeMar. Fort Wayne cut the lead back to two four seconds later when Haley Seibert converted a three, but LeMar and Marena Whittle went a combined 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final nine seconds of the half to ice the game for the Bison.
NDSU shot 55 percent (16-for-29) in the second half, including a 56 percent (5-of-9) performance from three-point range, and ended the game at 44 percent overall from the field, making 24-of-54 shots. The Bison went 6-for-19 (32 percent) from beyond-the-arc and 18-for-23 (78 percent) at the free-throw line and finished the game with a 42-29 advantage in rebounding.
Fort Wayne was paced by Seibert, who netted 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting.
The Mastodons shot 32 percent from the field, going 19-for-59, and were 10-for-29 from the perimeter for 35 percent. Fort Wayne went 95 percent at the charity stripe, making 18-of-19 free-throws.
North Dakota State will close out the 2014-15 regular season at home inside the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. against Denver.