It has been a tough start to the season for the North Dakota State women’s basketball program.
With six true freshman playing minutes, there are going to be growing pains. The fan base is anxious, hoping to see the program get back to contending for conference championships again. It has been six years since the Bison have finished the season with a winning record, but it will take time. It takes time and patience to rebuild a program, and the process never moves along as fast as coaches would like.
Losing isn’t fun. It’s frustrating. The players and coaches continue to work, stay positive and remain hungry for victories but are still searching for the first division one victory.
The Bison have come close on a few different occasions with tight losses to Western Michigan and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Both games came down to a couple of possessions in the fourth quarter, but there has been improvement and more importantly, there has been energy and effort.
Colorado women’s coach JR Payne told me before their game with NDSU: “They play really, really hard and we have been impressed with their effort on film.” NDSU hung with the heavily favored Buffalos until the fourth quarter and the Bison ran out of gas.
Just for perspective, true freshman Sarah Jacobson is leading the team in minutes played. At this point last year, her high school season at Shanley was just starting. Now she is getting hounded by guards that are 3-4 years older, stronger and more experienced.
That is also the case for Rylee Nudell, from Buffalo, ND, who is adjusting from playing against Central Cass and Hankinson to the University of Colorado and Providence. There are similar stories with others trying to find their way on the team, and the process takes time … and patience.