NDSU Basketball Programs Head to Summit League Tournament as Three Seeds
Begin Play on Sunday in Sioux Falls
FARGO, N.D. — Its the best month of the year if you’re a college basketball fan. The madness of march begins with postseason tournaments as team’s look to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament. North Dakota State men’s basketball is hoping to do just that by winning their third consecutive Summit League tournament.
Last year the Bison were the favorites as the one seed, however this time around find themselves as the three seed after finishing Summit League play with a 11-5 record. The Herd closed out the regular season with series splits against the top two seeds South Dakota and South Dakota State.
All year the team has found success from its upperclassman guards Tyree Eady Sam Griesel and forward Rocky Krueser who are averaging double figure points. However, to make a run in the postseason the younger pieces need to improve on one thing.
“The understanding of every single moment. I think that’s the biggest thing you gain through experiences,” Dave Richman said. “Rocky, Sam and Tyree, if you look at our group are really the ones who in those moments are the only ones understanding what it took to get it done in that moment. We still have some guys who are learning that but its still between those three and myself in particular. It falls on us to much sure everyone knows and we do our part.”
The Bison play Missouri-Kansas City in the quarterfinals. Krueser and Griesel were named to the all-summit league first and second teams. Both were top two on the team in scoring averaging 15 and 12 respectively.
Devils Lake native Grant Nelson was named sixth man of the year. Mr North Dakota basketball averaged eight points per game and was second in the conference in blocks.
On the women’s side, North Dakota State closed out the regular season third in the summit league with a 9-7 record 14-8 overall their highest finish since the 2008-2009 season. However, the Bison head to Sioux Falls off four consecutive losses to the top two seed South Dakota and South Dakota State. Those came by a combined 38 points where last season it was a whole lot worse a combined 118 points. In order to win the tournament, two more match-ups with those teams are looming.
“You make subtle adjustments. We won’t have to do much to refresh the scouting report,” head coach Jory Collins said. “We’ll have each played one game between then so some little adjustments that we do on the day to days and back to backs. Those games come down to execution and not beating yourselves. Those are the things that matter most in tournament play. It’s more about you then your opponent.”
“Sticking together and having the same energy we have been because we’re young and can put anything we put our minds too,” guard Heaven Hamling said. “Just be ourselves overall. That’s our biggest chance to have a good run.”
The Bison play Denver in the quarterfinals who they upset as the six seed last season.
Teammates call her the Heavgoat for a reason. Hamling was named newcomer of the year and second team all-conference after leading the team in points all by shooting 40 percent from the field. Her backcourt mate Reneya Hopkins joins Hamling on the all-newcomer team. Emily Dietz and Ryan Cobbins were honorable mentions as double digit scorers.