NDSU Women Fall at Western Illinois 82-70

MACCOMB, Ill. (NDSU Athletics) -- Western Illinois (10-13, 6-4 Summit) closed the first quarter on a 13-5 run to take the lead for good, as the Leathernecks beat the North Dakota State (6-15, 3-6 Summit) women's basketball team 82-70 Sunday afternoon at Western Hall.

An early 8-2 run for the Bison gave NDSU an 11-6 lead on a jumper by Cirkeline Rimdal with 6:35 to play in the first quarter. A layup by Emily Dietz gave the Bison a 16-12 lead with 4:46 left in the quarter before the Leathernecks went on the 13-5 run to take a 25-21 lead after the first quarter.

Tyrah Spencer's layup with 5:27 left in the half cut the lead to 31-26 before Western Illinois went on a 9-2 run to push the lead to 12 with 2:02 left in the half. A layup from Marina Fernandez with :51 left in the half left the Leathernecks with a 40-30 lead at the break.

Another layup from Spencer started the scoring in the second half, but Western Illinois answered with a 12-4 run over a 4:02 span to put the lead in double digits for the remainder of the game. A pair of free throws by Rimdal closed the scoring in the third quarter, as the Leathernecks led 64-47.

Western Illinois scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, taking its largest lead of the game at 69-47. The Bison responded with 10-straight points over a 1:41 span to cut the lead to 69-57 with 6:24 to play. A quick 6-0 run by the Leathernecks pushed the lead back to 18. NDSU would cut the lead to 12 twice in the final 1:40, but couldn't get any closer.

Gaislerova led the Bison with 21 points, her fifth game of 20 or more points this season. Gaislerova also went over the 600 point mark for her career, marking the second-straight game a Bison has hit the number with Rylee Nudell hitting it last week against Oral Roberts. Marina Fernandez added 13 points, while Sofija Zivaljevic and Nudell each had 12. Taylor Higginbotham finished with a game-high 27 points, as she became the all-time leading scorer in Western Illinois history.

Fernandez had a career-high 11 rebounds, as she notched her first career double-double. Zivaljevic and Spencer each had five boards. Fernandez had a game-high four assists, while Zivaljevic added three.

NDSU was 25-of-69 (36.2%) from the field and 8-of-19 (42.1%) from 3-point range. The Leathernecks were 31-of-61 (50.8%) from the floor and 5-of-12 (41.7%) from downtown. The Bison were perfect in 12 trips to the free throw line, tying a school record for percentage in a game. It was the most made free throws in school history without a miss. The Leathernecks were 15-of-20 at the charity stripe. The Leathernecks had a 52-28 advantage in the paint and 15-8 advantage in points off turnovers, while NDSU had an 18-8 advantage in bench points.

The Bison return to action on Thursday, Feb. 7, as they head to North Dakota.