The North Dakota State women's basketball team advanced to the Summit League Tournament Semifinals for the second time in school history, as the sixth-seeded Bison knocked off third-seeded Denver 72-68.
NDSU moved to 11-18 overall on the year, while Denver ends the season with a 15-15 record. The Bison will face second-seeded South Dakota State (22-9) Monday afternoon in the semifinals at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. The Jackrabbits swept the regular season series between the two teams and have won 12-straight games against NDSU.
Senior Rylee Nudell turned in her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds. It was just the fifth double-double by an NDSU player in tournament history. Her 12 rebounds are the second most by an NDSU player in tournament history. Nudell didn't make a basket, but went 12-of-12 at the free throw line, the most free throws an NDSU player has ever made in the tournament. She added four assists and a pair of steals. Ryan Cobbins had a team-high 18 points, while Michelle Gaislerova added 12 points.
Cobbins had a career-high seven rebounds, while Sofija Zivaljevic added six boards. Zivaljevic and Cobbins each had four assists, while Cobbins added a game-high three steals. Nudell moved into sixth in school history with her 373 career defensive rebound, while also collecting her 500th career rebound.
NDSU was 24-of-59 (40.7%) from the field and 6-of-20 (30%) from 3-point range. Denver was 27-of-77 (35.1%) from the floor and 5-of-22 (22.7%) from downtown. The Bison were 18-of-23 (78.3%) from the free throw line, while Denver was 9-of-11 (81.8%). Denver had a 14-8 advantage in points off turnovers and 40-30 in the paint. NDSU's 72 points were the second most scored by a Bison team in the tournament, while the 45 rebounds were the most NDSU has ever had in the tourney. The Bison led for 31:26 of the game.
The Bison opened the game with an 11-4 lead in the first 4:17. Denver cut the lead to three, but the Bison ended the quarter on an 11-3 run to take a 24-13 lead after the first quarter. Denver opened the second quarter on a 13-3 run over the first 7:20 before Olivia Skibiel hit a 3-pointer with 2:29 left in the quarter to push the lead back to four. NDSU led 34-30 at the break.
NDSU quickly pushed the lead to eight early in the third quarter, but Denver went on a 10-0 run to take a 42-40 lead with 2:47 to play in the third quarter. Denver scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, taking its largest lead at 51-47 with 9:23 to play. Denver led 57-55 with 6:47 to play before NDSU scored seven-straight points to take the lead for good. With the game tied at 66-66, Cobbins hit a jumper in the lane to give the Bison the lead. A steal by Nudell with :06 left gave NDSU the ball back. Nicole Scales hit a pair of free throws with :02 left to seal the victory.