Wiese leads the way in first major action since knee injury last year.

The University of Minnesota, Crookston women’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with Division I foe North Dakota State University but were unable to secure the victory, falling 68-65 Thursday night at Bison Sports Arena in Fargo.

    UMC was led on the night by 15 points from Brittani Wiese (Sr., G, Albertville, Minn.). The 2011 All-NSIC Second Team pick was 7-of-17 from the field while playing 29 minutes in her first major action since a knee injury cut her season short last year. Wiese played only eight minutes against South Dakota State University Sunday. The Golden Eagles shot 29-of-67 on the night for 43.8 percent. They struggled from three point land, hitting only 4-of-25 and from the charity stripe, going 3-of-8. UMC was out-rebounded on the night 46 to 37 despite holding the rebounding edge at the half.

    In addition to Wiese, Cienna Walker (So., G, Ajax, Ontario) added 13 points while freshman Alexa Thielman (Fr., G, Buffalo, Minn.) chipped in 10 points. Laurie Tyson (Sr., C, Rosemount, Minn.) added eight points and eight rebounds.

    North Dakota State was paced by 16 points from Katie Birkel. Dani DeGagne added 15 while Hannah Linz chipped in 10. Birkel and Marena Whittle each had seven boards to lead the Bison. North Dakota State shot 26-of-63 from the field for 46.4 percent. They were 4-of-15 on three-pointers and 12-of-20 from the free throw line.

    The Golden Eagles raced out to a 7-0 lead on the night following a pair of two-point baskets from Jaya Perkins (R-Fr., G, Lakeville, Minn.) and Tyson and a three from the wing for Walker. But NDSU quickly struck back as the score was knotted at 9-9 15 minutes into the first half. From there UMC was able to get out to a 21-17 lead.

    However, North Dakota State found their way back into the fray as they went on an 8-1 run from the six minute mark until 3:49 left in the first half started by Kahla Becken converting a pair of free throws.

    Then Whittle was able to come away with a steal to set up a Birkel fast-break lay-up. DeGagne added a jumper and then another Whittle steal and a Jamie Van Kirk fast-break lay-up put North Dakota State up 25-21 with 3:49 left.

    The Golden Eagles were able to stay in the fight in the first half as Walker was able to hit a pair of jumpers down the stretch, as was Wiese.

    The game was 34-30 going into the break. Walker led the team with nine points. Wiese and Perkins, who left the first half early due to injury, added six points. Walker and Tyson led the Golden Eagles on the boards as they out-rebounded their foes from Fargo 20-18 in the first frame.

    North Dakota State was paced by eight points apiece from DeGagne and Birkel. NDSU was 0-for-8 from three-point land in the first half. They out-shot the Golden Eagles 46.4 percent to 43.8 in the first half.

     The Golden Eagles and Bison played toe-to-toe for the first seven minutes of play in the second half  and UMC even led at the 12:54 mark in the second half following a Carli Bunning (Sr., F, Boone, Iowa) jumper but North Dakota State used a 10-2 run from the 12:54 mark to the 8:40 mark to widen the gap to 53-44. The Bison used a pair of threes from Birkel and Britney Gaines and a pair of two-point baskets from Van Kirk and Hannah Linz.

    North Dakota State took its biggest lead of 61-50 at the 6:57 mark following a Linz three-pointer.

    The Golden Eagles then went on a 8-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 63-58 at the 5:06 mark. UMC was led on the run by a pair of three-pointers from Thielman and Christine Thorn (Fr., G, St. Michael, Minn.) and a lay-up from Erika McRoberts (Fr., F/C, Byron, Minn.).

    UMC was able to cut the lead to three with just 39 second left after a jumper from Wiese. They then fouled Linz but she was unable to connect from the charity stripe giving the Golden Eagle a chance to tie the game at the end but Thielman missed a last second three-point attempt giving the Bison the victory.

    The Golden Eagles will open the regular-season Nov. 12 on the road at Valley City State University.