Late free throw shooting key as North Dakota State College of Science sneaks by Lake Region State College in a Mon-Dak tilt.
Great teams find a way to get it done and for the seven loss North Dakota State College of Science Wildcats, their way was from the charity stripe.
The Wildcats defeated Lake Region State College 71-67 in overtime Wednesday night from the Sports Center and didn’t make one field goal in the extra frame despite scoring eight points over the final five minutes. The Wildcats won by shooting 8 of 12 from the free-throw line.
“I’m very proud of our effort. We responded well and I can’t take anything away from them, that’s a good basketball team,” said Royals head coach Danny Mertens. “I was telling the girls all week that if we hold them in the 60s, we had a shot.”
The Royals (18-12, 6-7 MonDak) had a shot. Jadyn Pollert’s 3-point play with 1:49 remaining in the game gave Lake Region State a 61-60 lead. On the Wildcats next possession, Abby Johnson’s 3 gave the Wildcats the lead back at 63-61. The Royals missed a shot on the ensuing possession, forced a tie up on the defensive end to get the ball back because of the possession arrow and then missed another shot that would have given them the lead.
Tera-Nay Lee missed two free throws with 20.2 second left and 13 seconds later, Hailey Hewitt made two from the line to tie the game and force overtime at 63-all.
Maara Nelson’s free throw with 1:24 in overtime gave the Royals a two point advantage but the Wildcats (20-7, 10-3) made six consecutive free throws over the final minute to come away with the win.
“A couple of balls and things didn’t bounce our way but I’m really proud of the effort they gave. They left everything out there,” Mertens said. “We weathered everything we could except for the scoreboard.”
Nelson finished with 17 points and passed her mother, Jacqui Short-Nelson, for 21st all-time on the Royals total points list. Nelson also had 11 rebounds. Stephanie Miller scored 14 points but was held scoreless in the second half and overtime and Pollert had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Kate Carlson and Nikki Metcalfe each scored 14 points apiece for the Wildcats.
Chris Harris can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ