BELLEVUE, Neb. -- In only its third year of existence, the Bellevue University women's basketball team captured a share of North Star Athletic Association regular-season title with an 83-45 victory over Dakota State University Saturday afternoon in the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center.
The Bruins finished the regular season with a 20-9 overall record and an 11-3 mark in the NSAA. BU finished in a tie for first in the league standings with Mayville State University. Dakota State dropped to 4-24 overall and 3-11 in the NSAA.
Jamie Winkler led the Bruins on the night, finishing with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, to go along with five assists, five steals, and three rebounds. Elexis Martinez added 13 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocks. Shayla Dean was the third Bruin in double figures, finishing with 11 points, to go along with five assists and five steals.
The Bruins outshot DSU, 52.3 to 30.8 percent and outscored the Trojans, 40-15 in the second half. The BU defense forced 34 DSU turnovers, recording 20 steals on the night.
Jessi Giles was the lone Trojan in double figures, finishing with 13 points and five boards.
Led by Winkler's seven points, the Bruins used a 13-2 run to close the first quarter, taking a 25-12 advantage after the opening 10 minutes. BU shot 57.9 percent during the opening frame.
Bellevue scored the first five points of the second quarter to expand the margin to 18 points at 30-12. DSU battled back and layup by Cassie Hand capped a 9-4 DSU run to pull the Trojans to within 12 points at 39-27 with 2:22 remaining before the intermission before the Bruins settled for a 43-30 halftime advantage.
Winkler led BU in the first half with nine points and a pair of assists. Dean and Martinez added eight points apiece in the opening half. Giles led DSU in the first half with 11 points and four boards.
A 20-0 run to open the third quarter highlighted by consecutive 3-pointers by Winkler expanded the BU cushion to 33 points at 63-30 with 1:34 remaining in the third. The Trojans went scoreless for nearly nine minutes to open the second half before Giles stopped the drought with a pair of free throws, as BU took a 65-32 lead heading into the final frame. BU outscored the Trojans, 22-2 in the third, as DSU was held without a field goal.
After eight-straight points to open the fourth gave BU a 73-32 edge, the Trojans finally scored their first field goal of the second half with a layup by Alexis Robson with 5:50 remaining in the game. DSU never got closer than 37 points the remainder of the contest as BU cruised to the 83-45 victory.
Times, sites and pairings for the NSAA Tournament will be released on Sunday.