Women's Basketball

The Walkthrough: Bison Women Get Ready For Denver

The Bison women’s basketball team will face off with Denver this afternoon in the Summit League Tournament quarterfinals. Get ready for the game here.

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Photo By Nolan P. Schmidt

Today marks 11 years since North Dakota State women’s basketball won their last Summit League Tournament game. The Bison will look to break that streak this afternoon against Denver. As the six seed, Jory Collins and company do have a favorable match-up in the Pioneers as well. The Bison split the season series with Denver, winning their last match-up 85-80 in Fargo.


A renewed sense of energy and confidence has hit the women’s program too. Much of this is thanks to Collins and his staff. In just one year, they have turned the program around and are looking towards the future. They begin that today as they look for an upset over the Pioneers.

Get ready for the game this afternoon with these nuggets from head coach Jory Collins and guard Sofija Zivaljevic.

Guard Sofija Zivaljevic

On the team’s motivations heading into this afternoon…

“Knowing that we haven’t had much success in the past and now this year we’re actually playing for something. Having the chance to win not only one game, but maybe two or three is actually huge. That is a huge motivation for us.”

Things they can take advantage of against Denver…

“They’re a good team, they have won seven straight games and I think the last time they lost was against us here. We won that game despite having 32 turnovers which you don’t really see. They are very good offensively, but not as good defensively because they do give up a lot of points. We know where to attack them and how and we’ll certainly be prepared to utilize those opportunities.”

On the importance of offensive execution in a game like this…

“It’s very important because you have to utilize your chances to score. On the other side of the floor, we might give up some points because they are very good offensively. We’ll focus on executing the right stuff at the right time and hopefully, we get the result that we want.”

On staying focused despite having a week off from playing…

“Sometimes it’s actually nice to refresh a little bit mentally and physically. We really have to stay locked in and one we’re together on the floor, we need to use every single moment to prepare the best possible way.”

On her elevated play in the last five games…

“There is a higher sense of urgency as the season comes to an end and obviously I’m done after this year. That has helped a little bit mentally, but we’ve been together since June so as time goes by, it’s easier. I understand more of what coach wants from me at certain times. When you see the ball going through the hoop, your confidence goes up a bit and everything is a little easier.”

Head Coach Jory Collins

On how the NDSU plans to defend Denver’s all-league forward Madison Nelson…

“You have to do some different things. We kind of left her on an island in the last game. She got 26 points, but it took her 25 shots to get that, I think she was 12 of 25. I would almost take that with as good of a player as she is. She is just so good in and around the basket, finishing with both hands and there are things we’re going to have to do to try and make it difficult for her than it was last time.”

On the importance of controlling the tempo of this game…

“I would have told you earlier in the year that it would be critical for us. We’re trying to play a little bit looser and faster ourselves just to free up some of our players and let them do some things that they’re good at. That can be a little bit dangerous with [Lauren] Loven and Nelson averaging 50 a game in the last four or five games. You have to be careful that you’re not giving them too many possessions. A lot of that is playing fast without turning the ball over. If we’re throwing it all over the place, then we’re definitely going to have to be more cognizant of the pace.”

On how he has stressed offensive execution…

“That’s really important. When we played them last time and we did complete passes, we shot a good percentage. When we didn’t screen who we were supposed to or seal in the post, we didn’t shoot well. They’re active on the defensive end, but they do give up some points. That is why it is so critical for us to take care of the ball and do our stuff and make sure we’re completing those sets.”

On if he has put an emphasis on the program’s postseason drought…

“I’m not one of those guys that’ll go in there and say ‘hey, we haven’t done this since…’. This is our team, this is our year and what has happened last year or 10 years ago doesn’t matter for me. We’re going to prepare yesterday, today, tomorrow to get ready for one game. We’re trying to start something new and we’re going to start our own traditions and our own streaks. What happened then is less important to me than what we’re doing now.”

The Bison and Pioneers tip at 2:30 p.m.

The Walkthrough: Bison Women Get Ready For Denver
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