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Holly Johnson scored eight points and matched a season-high with six rebounds in North Dakota State's 73-68 win over Oakland on Thursday.
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Courtesy: Bob Nelson
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Bison Women Strong Down Stretch in 73-68 Home Win Over Oakland University

Courtesy: NDSU Athletic Media Relations
Release: February 07, 2013
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FARGO. N.D.--North Dakota State was strong down the stretch and hit 7 of 8 free throws in the game's final 47 seconds to defeat Oakland University 73-68 in a Summit League women's basketball game played Thursday, Feb. 7, before 489 at the Bison Sports Arena.

North Dakota State (9-14, 5-6 Summit League) is scheduled to host Fort Wayne (8-14, 4-6 Summit League) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. The Mastodons lost 72-62 at South Dakota State on Thursday.

Bison seniors Dani DeGagne and Katie Birkel combined to score 41 points. DeGagne scored 11 of her game-high 21 in the first half as NDSU held a slim 33-32 halftime lead.

Birkel scored 12 of her 20 points in the second half including seven in the game's final minute. She hit an one-handed, off-balance jumper to the right of the free throw line with 55.6 seconds to put NDSU ahead 66-60.

Birkel made 5 of 6 free throws in the bonus after that. She moved up to 11th on NDSU's all-time scoring list with 1,365 points, passing Amanda Gehrke (1355, 1998-02), and is 8th in assists with 333.

AnneMarie Hamlet scored 16 points to lead a group of four Oakland players in double figures. Olivia Nash added 10 points and eight rebounds, with eight of her points coming during a second half comeback.

Nash's putback tied the game at 55-all with 5:37 remaining. It was the 10th tie of the game, while the lead changed hands four times.

Sixteen seconds later DeGagne hit a jumper to put the Bison ahead for good and start a 7-0 run over the next two minutes.

Oakland made 10 of 21 three-pointers and shot 45.3 percent from the field overall. The Bison connected on 54.2 percent from the field in the second half, 45 percent overall.

North Dakota State made 15 of 19 free throws compared to 0 for 7 for the Golden Grizzlies. The Bison entered the game ranked 14th nationally in free throws.

NDSU held a 40-34 rebounding advantage led by Marena Whittle's game-high 11 boards. It was her seventh double-figure rebound game. Whittle also matched a season-high with five steals. Holly Johnson added eight points and season-high six rebounds.

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