DELAND, Fla. (NDSU Athletics) -- A 3-pointer with :57 to play gave Stetson the final lead of the game, as the Hatters beat the North Dakota State women's basketball team 60-59 at the 31st Annual Hatter Classic.
The Bison came out firing, taking an 11-0 lead in the first 3:30 of the game. All the points on the run came from Rylee Nudell and Michelle Gaislerova. The Hatters scored the next seven points before a 3-pointer by Sofija Zivaljevic started a 9-2 Bison run. A layup by Megan Vincent at the buzzer cut NDSU's lead to 20-11 after the first quarter.
Stetson cut the lead to four with 7:25 left in the first half, but the Bison answered with a 14-6 run over the final 6:30 of the first to take a 36-24 lead at the halftime break. The 12 point lead was the largest of the season for NDSU.
NDSU fought off a Stetson run late in the third quarter before Zivaljevic hit a jumper with 1:05 left in the third quarter to give NDSU a 45-39 lead going into the final quarter.
The Hatters opened the final quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers en route to a 13-5 run over a 3:26 span that gave Stetson a 52-50 lead with 5:54 to play. Back-to-back baskets by Emily Dietz and Tyrah Spencer quickly gave the Bison the lead again.
Gaislerova hit a 3-pointer with 2:59 left, as the Bison took a 57-54 lead. The Hatters answered with a 3-pointer by Day'Neshia Banks with 2:33 left to tie it. With :57 to play, Bianca Fizquaty hit a 3-pointer from five-feet behind the line, that banked in as the shot clock expired to give the Hatters a 60-57 lead. Gaislerova was fouled attempting a 3-pointer as time expired. Gaislerova missed the first attempt before hitting the next two, as the Hatters held on for the 60-59 victory.
The Bison were 21-of-58 (36.2%) from the field and 8-of-23 (34.8%) from 3-point range. Stetson was 21-of-52 (40.4%) from the floor and 6-of-17 (35.3%) from downtown, including 4-of-6 in the fourth quarter. The Bison were 9-of-11 (81.8%) at the free throw line, while Stetson was 12-of-15 (80%) at the charity stripe. Stetson had advantages in the specialty stats in points in the paint (28-20), fast break (6-0) and bench points (21-14).
Gaislerova led the Bison with 20 points, her 11th double digit scoring game of the year and third time scoring at least 20 points. Gaislerova was named to the 31st Annual Hatter Classic All-Tournament Team. Dietz and Zivaljevic joined her in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. Sarah Sagerer led the Hatters with 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Nudell led the Bison with seven rebounds, while Dietz, Spencer, Cirkeline Rimdal and Danneka Voegeli each added five boards. It was a career-high for Rimdal. Spencer had three assists, while Gaislerova had a career-high three steals.
NDSU will have the week off before opening Summit League play on Dec. 28 against Purdue Fort Wayne.