Some extra notes from South Dakota State’s weekend basketball games against North Dakota State:
The SDSU bench scored just three points against NDSU – all by forward Marcus Heemstra. It was the same total against New Mexico.
Meanwhile, the Jacks starters struggled at times, too. Chad White didn’t score at all, Jordan Dykstra was shutout in the first half and Brayden Carlson was blanked in the second half.
Jacks coach Scott Nagy said that guard Nate Wolters is getting closer to 100 percent in his return from an ankle injury, although his practice time has been limited in an attempt to help the process.
Wolters finished with 26 points on 10 of 21 shooting against the Bison, arguably his best overall showing in Fargo. His career line in the Bison Sports Arena: 24 of 72 from the floor and 73 points in four games. SDSU won just one of the four.
The senior needs 38 points to break the school career scoring record. On his current pace of roughly 20 per game, Wolters would set the mark Saturday at South Dakota.
Prior to Saturday, SDSU had been 7-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle. The Jacks were a combined minus-22 on the glass last year vs. NDSU, but won both games.
Meanwhile, SDSU has played 15 games this season with six of them being decided by three points or less. The Jacks are 3-3 in those contests.
Officially, neither team scored any fast break points, indicative of the fact that the game was played at NDSU’s preferred pace. The Bison also didn’t score any second-chance points.
The teams combined for just 16 turnovers – eight each. The Bison didn’t commit any in the second half.
Both teams had scoreless droughts of 5 minutes or more in the first half, too.
Bison junior forward Marshall Bjorklund scored 20 points on 8 of 8 shooting against the Jacks. His stats from the last game before Christmas: 20 points on 8 of 8 shooting against Morehead State.
The Jacks have committed 44 fouls in the last two games compared to 30 by the opposition. Prior to that, SDSU has been whistled for 46 fewer fouls than its foes.
On the other hand, the Bison didn’t shoot any free throws in the first half. But they finished with 21.
From the stats department, SDSU coach Aaron Johnston said that he recently looked back at historical stats and determined that the team was getting a typical number of shots per game despite a turnover average of 20 per game. Meanwhile, senior guard Ashley Eide said that the Jacks put more stock in turnover margin than the number of turnovers they commit. On that front, they were plus-6 vs. the Bison.
Also, Johnston said that he’d like to see senior forward Leah Dietel average 9-10 points going forward. She was at 6.2 heading into the weekend, but put up 14 vs. NDSU as part of an upward trend. That gives her 38 points and 22 boards over the last three games.
NDSU coach Carolyn DeHoff said that her team has had to completely retool its plan of attack in light of losing center Janae Burich for the season due to a knee injury. Burich and Katie Birkel, another former all-conference pick who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, were to anchor the team.
Eide has scored at least 20 points in each of the last three games, the longest such run by an SDSU player since All-American Jenn Warkenthien in 2008-09. Warkenthien also maxed out at three in a row. Before that, Megan Vogel - a WNBA Draft pick - had runs of three, four and five games in a row in 2006-07.
“I think Ashley’s at a good place mentally,” Johnston said.
Jacks senior post Katie Lingle played four minutes vs. NDSU in her return to action. She missed the Georgetown game plus several days of practice, returning to the floor only Saturday. Johnston said it perhaps wasn’t even fair to play her under those conditions, but that it’s hard to keep seniors off the floor.
Lingle suffered a cut to her forehead that required stitches on Dec. 18 vs. Delaware State. She’s third on the team in scoring (7.8) and second in rebounding (4.7).
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.