Bison Women's Rally Falls Short Against Western Illinois in 85-83 Loss
Release: January 19, 2013
FARGO, N.D.--Saule Kontautaite scored a game-high 30 points including several key buckets late as Western Illinois held off a furious second half rally in an 85-83 win over North Dakota State in a Summit League women's basketball game played Saturday, Jan. 19, before 495 at the Bison Sports Arena.
North Dakota State (7-12, 3-4 Summit) is scheduled to play at Omaha (13-5, 3-3 Summit) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.
Jackie Rieger put Western Illinois (10-8, 3-3 Summit) ahead 58-33 with 16:50 left in the second half. Rieger finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
However, the Bison pulled to within one point with 13 seconds left and had two shots at tying the game with under 5 seconds left.
Kontautaite helped to keep NDSU at a distance, hitting 11 of 16 from the field on a variety of shots including a 7 of 10 effort from the three-point line.
Katie Birkel dropped in a team-high 23 points. Her jumper with 30 seconds pulled NDSU to within 84-81. Jamie Van Kirk's layup with 13 seconds left trimmed the deficit to 84-83. Dani DeGagne and Birkel each a missed shot in the final seconds.
Birkel led a group of four NDSU players in double-figures, who helped to spark the much needed 54-point second half explosion. Birkel moved up two spots to 16th on the school's scoring list and has 1,285 points. She added seven assists.
Marena Whittle netted 18 points, while DeGagne scored 16 and Britney Gaines came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field.
Western Illinois shot 62.1 percent from the field in the first half and 57.6 percent for the game. The Fighting Leathernecks made 11 of 21 three-point field goals for 52.4 percent. WIU led 45-29 at halftime.
North Dakota State made 60.6 percent from the field in the second half and finished at 51.6 percent overall. It was the second time this season the Bison had hit over 50 percent from the field. NDSU committed only nine turnovers. Each team had 33 rebounds.