Brooke LeMar matched her career-high, scoring 25 points, but it wasn't enough, as the North Dakota State Bison women's basketball team (3-11) fell to the Northern Colorado Bears (6-5) Thursday evening inside the Bison Sports Arena, 74-70.
The Bison took an early 6-0 lead with 18:29 remaining in the first half on a three-pointer from Holly Johnson, but the Bears were able to fight back, tying the contest at 15 on a jumper from Rebecca Howell with 13:05 left in the half.
Northern Colorado took its first lead of the game, 17-15, at the 12:28 mark after Stephanie Lee converted a layup.
The two teams traded leads until the 4:29 remained in the first stanza. Kyleigh Hiser scored a layup to put the Bears ahead, 31-29, and the Northern Colorado defense held the Bison to just four points the remainder of the half. Northern Colorado went into halftime leading, 37-34.
LeMar led the Bison in the opening stanza, scoring eight points, while Stephanie Lee paced the Bears with 14 points.
North Dakota State was 11-for-27 (41 percent) from the field and 4-for-9 (44 percent) from three in the first half. The Bison converted eight of nine free throw attempts.
Northern Colorado shot 49 percent in the half, going 16-for-33, and were 4-for-8 from three for 50 percent. The Bears attempted only two free throws, making one.
NDSU cut the Northern Colorado advantage to just one, 43-42, after a three from Kahla Becken with 16:50 to go in the second half, however, the Bears responded, going on a 10-0 run to give them their largest lead of the game, 52-42, with 13:57 on the clock.
The Bison were able to trim the Bear lead to 57-56 with 10 minutes to go in the second half when LeMar drilled a three and, a minute later, Emily Spier gave NDSU its first lead since the 8:59 mark of the first half, 61-60, after she made a pair of free throws.
The two teams traded leads until 4:14 remained in the second half, when the Bears' Lee hit a jumper to regain a 71-70 advantage. Northern Colorado maintained the lead the final four minutes of the game, sealing the 74-70 win.
LeMar's 25 points led NDSU in the game, while Johnson and Becken also reached double figures, scoring 12 and 11, respectively.
The 25 points from LeMar marked the fifth game she has scored at least 20 points this season.
The Bison shot 38 percent from the field for the game, going 23-for-60, and were 8-for-20 (40 percent) from beyond the arc. NDSU made 16-of-18 free throws for 89 percent.
Northern Colorado was paced by Lee, who scored a game-high 34 points.
The Bears were 29-for-58 (50 percent) from the field and 4-for-12 (33 percent) from three. Northern Colorado made 12-of-18 free throws for 67 percent.
NDSU returns to the court Thursday, Jan. 9, when Fort Wayne visits the Bison Sports Arena for the Summit League opener. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.