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NDSU Women Hold off UM-Crookston for exhibition win

FARGO, N.D.(NDSU Sp Information)-- The North Dakota State women's basketball team began the 2013-14 season with a 64-59 exhibition win over Minnesota-Crookston Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Bison Sports Arena in Fargo. NDSU fell behind 6-0 early after a layup from the Golden Eagles' Cienna Walker at the 17:01 mark. The Bison cut the deficit to 6-4 on a jumper from Hannah Breske with 12:55 remaining in the opening half but Minnesota-Crookston answered and opened up a 15-10 lead with 8:54 remaining after a jumper from Kenzie Church. NDSU pulled within one, 15-14, with 7:11 on the clock in the first half when Holly Johnson drilled a jumper and eventually tied the game at 18 after an Emily Spier jumper with a little less than six minutes to go in the half. Again the Golden Eagles had an answer to the Bison charge, going on a 6-0 run capped off by a three-pointer from Alexa Thielman with 4:18 remaining in the first stanza to regain a 24-18 advantage. The Bison went into halftime trailing 30-26. NDSU shot 39-percent from the field in the opening half, going 10-26 and were 6-9 from the free-throw line for 67-percent. The Bison failed to make a three-pointer in the first half, going 0-4. The Golden Eagles shot 37-percent from the field, going 10-27, and were 7-12 from the charity stripe for 58-percent. Minnesota-Crookston went 3-8 beyond the arc for 38-percent. Johnson led the Bison individually in the opening stanza with six points and four rebounds while Thielman paced the Golden Eagles with eight points, going 2-3 from the three-point line. The Bison raced out of the gates to start the second half and cut the Golden Eagle lead to one after a Marena Whittle three-pointer with 18:24 left in the half. NDSU took a 37-36 lead with 15:28 left in the half after Brooke LeMar was fouled and buried both foul shots. It was NDSU's first lead of the game. NDSU quickly extended its lead to 39-36 on a Liz Keena layup and would not trail the rest of the game. The Bison led by 12 with 7:44 remaining in the second half after a pair of made free throws from Bree Whatman. Minnesota-Crookston mounted a late comeback effort in the final three minutes of the contest but the Bison defense held strong, sealing the 64-59 victory. NDSU finished the game shooting 19-50 from the field for 38-percent and were 25-30 from the free-throw line for 83-percent. The Bison were only 1-8 from beyond the three-point arc. The Golden Eagles shot 36-percent from the field on 19-53 shooting and were 16-24 from the charity stripe for 67-percent. UMC shot 26-percent on 5-19 shooting from long range. Johnson led the Bison in scoring for the game and rebounds, posting a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. Keena rounded out the Bison in double figures with 12 points, respectively. Thielman led Minnesota-Crookston with a game-high 20 points. The Bison return to action Saturday, Nov. 2 when they host Concordia-Moorhead in their final exhibition game before beginning the regular season. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Bison Sports Arena.