WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: North Dakota grinds out 13-point Big Sky victory over Weber State
As expected, UND defeated Weber State 68-55 on Thursday night — a win that keeps North Dakota in first place in the Big Sky Conference.
What wasn’t expected, however, was UND’s flat, turnover-plagued, grind-it-out night against a team that is winless in the Big Sky.
“We have to play a certain way to have success,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “We have to understand we have to play a certain way night in and night out. And we talked about that after the game.”
UND improved to 10-2 in the league and 15-6 overall before 1,637 fans at The Betty.
But there weren’t a lot of feel-good moments after the game considering UND turned the ball over 29 times and never did get a game-turning run against a team that dropped to 0-11 and 4-16.
“We’re 10-2 and we have to look at that,” said UND center Emily Evers. “We have to play a lot better than we did tonight. We scrapped and found a way to win. That’s been the name of our game all year.”
UND, led by Madi Buck’s 17 points, did forge a 10-point lead late in the first half until Weber’s Kalie Matthews threw in a half-court shot at the buzzer that left North Dakota up 34-27 at the break.
North Dakota finally gained separation after Kelsey Knox (13 points), Makailah Dyer and Buck hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers for a 45-32 lead with 15 minutes to go.
UND pushed the lead to 17 before Weber, which shot 39 percent, cut the deficit to nine in the final minute. Weber never recovered from UND’s three straight 3-pointers. But UND never truly capitalized on the mini-spurt as well.
“It wasn’t one of our prettiest games but we found a way again,” said Knox.
Weber applied pressure throughout, something that has given UND trouble at times this season.
“They’re up on you and aggressive,” said Knox. “It’s a different style of basketball we have to get used to. We’re going to figure it out.”
Idaho State comes to The Betty on Saturday. The Bengals beat Northern Colorado on Thursday and are perimeter-oriented like Weber.
“We have some work to do,” said Brewster.