FARGO — It had been awhile since smiles were evident on the faces of the North Dakota State women’s basketball players after a game. It hasn’t been an easy first season for head coach Jory Collins, but he is 1-0 against Division I teams in his own state.

The Bison hit key free throws down the stretch and held off the University of North Dakota 92-82 Sunday afternoon at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. It was the first Summit League win for Collins and was NDSU’s first Division I win this season since beating New Hampshire on Dec. 1.

“Just smiles and excitement,” Collins said. “We talked the other day, we’re playing a game here. It’s supposed to be fun, you’re supposed to enjoy competing and enjoy your teammates in the family atmosphere we’re trying to create. To see them play the way they did and finally get a result, the joy on their faces was nice.”

NDSU held the Fighting Hawks to one free throw in the last 5:01 of the game. On offense, meanwhile, the Bison made only one field goal in the fourth quarter, but it was a big one from center Emily Dietz. Her inside hoop with 1:17 remaining gave the Bison an 85-81 lead.

“It feels amazing,” said Bison senior Michelle Gaislerova. “This season we’ve struggled to win games and finish them. We’ve always been there but struggled to finish them.”

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North Dakota State’s Rylee Nudell struggles for a loose ball with North Dakota’s Jaclyn Jarnot during their women’s basketball game Sunday, Jan. 19, in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
North Dakota State’s Rylee Nudell struggles for a loose ball with North Dakota’s Jaclyn Jarnot during their women’s basketball game Sunday, Jan. 19, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

They finished this one with seven unanswered free throws after Dietz’s basket.

“It feels really good, we’ve been working hard for a long time,” said Bison forward Rylee Nudell, who had 11 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. “It feels good to get a win under our belt and we’ll use this momentum throughout Summit League play.”

UND led for only one minute the entire afternoon in a game that had 71 free throws combined by both teams. The Bison were 32 of 38 and UND 29 of 33.

“They took it at us and we took it at them,” said UND guard Lilly Keplin. “But it just wasn’t enough tonight.”

The Bison took it at the Fighting Hawks with Gaislerova and Ryan Cobbins in the first two quarters, opening up a 10-point lead late in the second quarter. Those two combined for 23 points and NDSU led 49-41 at halftime.

Defense was not the friend of the Fighting Hawks, who gave up 99 points in a loss at South Dakota State last Thursday.

“You can’t guard anybody at the free throw line and we didn’t do a good job with our feet,” said UND head coach Travis Brewster. “We have to get back to the basics this week. It’s a rivalry game and we didn’t take care of business.”

Cobbins kept the heat on in the third quarter scoring all eight of her team’s points in a stretch of 1:30. Her three-point play and jumper in the lane gave the Bison a 61-49 advantage.

It was still 75-65 heading to the fourth quarter. The biggest issue for NDSU was foul trouble to its three interior players, all of whom had four fouls just 20 seconds into the final 10 minutes.

Danneka Voegeli, a 6-2 junior, fouled out 10 seconds later. That’s when UND mounted a rally. Nine straight points cut the Bison lead to 77-76 with 7:13 remaining.

North Dakota’s Julia Fleecs, left, and three teach for the ball as North Dakota State’s Ryan Cobbins shoots during their women’s basketball game Sunday, Jan. 19, in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
North Dakota’s Julia Fleecs, left, and three teach for the ball as North Dakota State’s Ryan Cobbins shoots during their women’s basketball game Sunday, Jan. 19, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

“We did what we know how to do and that’s execute,” said Hawks forward Julia Fleecs, “which we fell short on.”

The Bison held the fort with five straight free throws. UND got within a point for the second time at 82-81 on a 3-pointer from Keplin. The Hawks found foul trouble of their own with 6-2 center Olivia Lane and the 6-2 junior Fleecs both fouling out.

Fleecs had 20 points behind 14-of-14 free throw shooting.

Gaislerova and Cobbins finished with 22 points each, both season highs.

“The pace of the game has finally slowed down,” Cobbins said. “As a freshman, I struggled with that the first part of the season, so yeah I do feel more comfortable.”

UND 19 41 65 82

NDSU 23 49 75 92

UND (12-7, 3-3 Summit): J. Jarnot 2-9 5-6 10, Fleecs 3-11 14-14 20, Orth 1-1 0-0 2, Borowicz 1-8 0-0 2, A. Jarnot 2-5 2-2 6, Lane 4-6 2-3 10, Keplin 4-6 3-4 13, Zander 0-0 0-0 0, Reinke 1-2 2-2 5, Manson 3-6 1-2 10, VanLoo 2-6 0-0 4. Totals: 23-61 29-33.

NDSU (4-13, 1-4): Nudell 3-6 5-6 11, Dietz 1-2 1-2 3, Zivaljevic 2-9 11-11 15, Cobbins 8-15 5-7 22, Rimdal 0-3 0-0 0, Voegeli 2-3 0-0 4, Gaislerova 7-10 4-4 22, Terrer van Gool 1-2 0-0 2, Scales 1-1 4-4 6, Skibiel 2-3 2-4 7. Totals: 27-54 32-38.

Total fouls: UND 34, NDSU 24. Fouled out: Voegeli, Lane. Rebounds: UND 34 (Lane 5); NDSU 33 (Nudell 11). 3-point goals: UND 7-19 (J. Jarnot 1-3, Fleecs 0-1, Orth 0-1, Borowicz 0-1, A. Jarnot 0-1, Keplin 2-4, Reinke 1-2, Manson 3-5, VanLoo 0-1); NDSU 6-16 (Nudell 0-2, Zivaljevic 0-1, Cobbins 1-5, Rimdal 0-1, Gaislerova 4-4, Terrer van Gool 0-1, Skibiel 1-2). Assists: UND 9 (J. Jarnot, Orth 2); NDSU 11 (Nudell 4). Turnovers: UND 10 (J. Jarnot, Keplin 2); NDSU 11 (three with 2). A-1,296.