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Bison get refresher on UND women's basketball rivalry

FARGO -- The usual method for North Dakota State in preparing for a women's basketball game is to watch videotape of the opponent. On Thursday night, the plan was for the Bison to put another DVD in the player.

They watched the PBS documentary "When They Were Kings," a look at the NDSU and University of North Dakota rivalry back in the Division II heyday. Also, former head coach Amy Ruley addressed the team.

"Just so they understand the North Dakota State and University of North Dakota rivalry," said Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff.

Tonight at the Bison Sports Arena, the teams renew their series that was discontinued after the 2004 season.

UND leads the series 40-33, with the last game a 66-65 win in the Division II regional in St. Paul. The winning hoop with 4 seconds left in that game was scored by Mary Perrizo, who began her career at NDSU before transferring.

It's a different scenario tonight, both in terms of it being early in the season and in record. Both are finding the competition tougher at the Division I level. NDSU is 3-3; UND 0-4.

DeHoff said guard Hannah Linz is playing, but is also undergoing testing to make sure her bout with Hodgkin's lymphoma two years ago hasn't returned.

Starting center Janae Burich will not play because of a knee ailment that DeHoff said has doctors perplexed. Her status is day-to-day. "It's just bizarre," she said.

Backup forward Catavia Jones is out for the season after undergoing surgery to address a cartilage problem in her knee. Forward Ali Browning will miss the UND game with a meniscus tear in her knee.

It will be more than a game tonight. DeHoff said more than 40 former Bison players will return, even though it is not the annual alumni weekend. The occasion is a halftime recognition ceremony for Ruley, now an assistant athletic director at NDSU.

"Our kids will be ready," DeHoff said. "We'll put our best performance out on the floor."

That was usually the case in the two-plus decades when both teams dominated the North Central Conference, and for a period, the entire Division II. That was evident, too, from the PBS documentary.

Ruley's talk with the team on Thursday night was to give the players more background on the game.

"What a fun atmosphere," DeHoff said. "Unbelievable. Just in terms of the players on the floor, the coaching that had to go on, the fans and the community support."