Ever since North Dakota State College of Science fell to Bismarck State College in their second game of the year, the Lady Wildcats have been locked in. Science picked up two more wins in the Thanksgiving Classic in Iowa over the weekend to hit double-digits on their win streak.
The first victory was a 60-51 edging of Jefferson College on Friday, Nov. 29 and NDSCS followed it up with a 60-45 win over Iowa Western Community College. Science’s sophomores have paved the way for the squad during their one-loss start to the season.
“I thought the sophomores in general are playing at a really high level,” NDSCS coach Tom Dryburgh said. “They’re getting our girls ready to go and are being able to put a lot of things together.”
Playing a game the day after one of the biggest eating days of the year is always going to be a struggle. That showed for NDSCS as they were held to five points in the first quarter of their tournament opener.
“I thought that we had a little bit of a Thanksgiving hangover. You travel that day, get off the bus and go right to the game,” Dryburgh said. “I thought it was going to take us a little while to get our bearings about us, but we did.”
The Cats flipped the script in the second quarter, outscoring their foes 19-8. Both teams were tight throughout the second quarter, but NDSCS had just enough gas in the tank to outlast Jefferson.
Justyna Butler led the scoring department with 15 and her fellow sophomore, Kate Carlson, chipped in another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
“Kate Carlson’s been doing a really good job coming off the bench for us to give us some solid post play and toughness down there,” Dryburgh said. “She’s been playing at a really high level which is nice.”
Science improved substantially in their second game of the weekend. Once again a big second quarter gave them the lead heading into the locker room, but a dominant third quarter gave Iowa Western a tough uphill battle to come back from.
“We played better. Iowa Western’s a really good team. We defended at a really high level and made things really difficult for them,” Dryburgh said. “We held one of their better players to 1-11 from the floor. I thought our guards did a good job of containing the bounce. We just really put ourselves defensively in a good position to win the game.”
Carlson was the top scorer with a dozen as nine players contributed to the balanced attack. Emma Ogitchida was a point and a rebound away from a double-double in an efficient night from the floor that saw her sink four out of her five shots.
Next up for NDSCS (11-1) is a pair of home games this upcoming weekend. The first is a 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 bout with Bryant & Stratton College. At 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 they’ll face Jamestown College’s JV.
“It’s going to be a good game (against Bryant & Stratton). I thought these four games between Sheridan, Jefferson, Iowa Western and Bryant & Stratton are going to be a telling thing for us,” Dryburgh said. “We’ll find out once again about ourselves and see how things are going.”