Strong Second Half Start Lifts Bison Past Western Illinois 65-50
Release: February 14, 2011
|Women's Major Basketball Scores (Feb. 14, 2011)|
FARGO, N.D.--North Dakota State went on a 14-2 run to open the second half and defeated Western Illinois 65-50 in a Summit League women's basketball game played Monday, Feb. 14, before a crowd of 771 in the Bison Sports Arena. The Bison won three straight for the first time this season and have won five of their last six games.
North Dakota State (13-12, 9-6 Summit) is scheduled to play second-place IPFW (17-6, 11-3 Summit) in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Saturday, Feb. 19.
Sadie Webb scored the first basket of the second half to put Western Illinois (7-17, 5-9 Summit) ahead 30-29 with 19:33 left. Webb scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the first half. Brittany Demery added 11 for WIU.
However, NDSU reeled off 14 unanswered points before the Fighting Leathernecks would score again at the 14:07 mark.
Birkel, a 5-foot-8 junior from Lincoln, Neb., scored eight of her team-high 17 points over that span including a three-pointer beyond the arc and the conventional three-point play on a layup and free throw.
Birkel, who hit 3 of 6 from the three-point line, also added a pair of rebounds and an assist during the NDSU run that saw Whitney Trecker nail a three-pointer and Janae Burich scored off a nifty pass inside.
North Dakota State's 30-29 deficit went to a 43-30 lead with 14:20 left on the Burich layup.
Western Illinois could only cut the deficit to 10 points three times after that, the last at 54-44 with 5:02 left on a pair of Webb free throws.
NDSU shot 45.1 percent from the field compared to 29.1 percent for WIU, while the Bison also held a 37-34 edge on the boards led by Dani DeGagne's career- and game-high 10 rebounds.
Abby Plucker scored 14 points and Burich added 12 to join Birkel in double-figures. Burich added six blocked shots and had 13 blocks over the weekend's two games. Birkel pushed her NDSU career scoring total to 996 and sits 28th on the school's all-time list.