by Kristin Haseley
The Jaguars aimed to secure the fourth seed in the conference tournament when they took on the North Dakota State Bison on Monday evening in Fargo. Unfortunately for IUPUI, the Bison would foil their plan and beat the Jags on a last second effort, winning 58-56. The Bison were lead by Danielle Muri who put up 16 points for NDSU.
The Jags started off the first half cold from the floor, scoring only five points in the first six minutes of play. Katie Comello came off the bench for IUPUI and provided a much needed offensive spark as she scored seven points in a three minute span. Unfortunately for IUPUI, DeeDee Bellamy went down with an apparent ankle injury and did not return to the game. The Jaguars kept pushing and extended their lead at the 4:18 mark when Emily Phillips hit a three pointer. The next two trips down the court Nelson would bury consecutive threes to extend the IUPUI lead to six points. Nelson finished the half with 11 of her 20 points.
IUPUI did not trail a single time in the second half, except when the buzzer sounded. The Jags had as much as an 8 point lead, but the Bison wouldn’t go down without a fight and battled back, going on a 10-2 run. With 2.1 seconds remaining in the game NDSU had the ball out of bounds with the score tied at 56. The Bison got the ball in and the initial shot failed to hit anything; however Hanna Linz was on the back side of the board to put the rebound up as the buzzer sounded. The buzzer-beater sent NDSU to its eighth conference win of the season, and secured them a spot in the Summit League Tournament as the number four seed.
Nelson’s 20 points would lead the Jags, while Nevena Markovic marked her return with eight points. Comello and Phillips finished the night with seven points apiece. Sophomore Dawn Luster led IUPUI in rebounding as she pulled down 8 boards in the defeat. The loss puts the Jaguars as the number five seed heading into the weekend’s Summit League Conference Championship.
IUPUI will attempt to carry the disappointment of Monday’s loss into the tournament as they are set for a rematch against the Bison. The Jags will take on NDSU on Sunday, March 4 with tipoff slated for Noon local time, 1 p.m. Eastern.