All systems go
The outcome never was in doubt since it was an exhibition game against a Division III program. But there were some pleasant surprises during UND's 99-35 win over Minnesota-Morris on Saturday at The Betty.
• UND's up-style tempo was noticeably faster than in previous seasons. "It's the best we've moved the basketball here in four years," said UND coach Travis Brewster.
• UND's perimeter shooting was improved, too. "We were taking the right, game-flow shots," added Brewster. "No one was caught off-guard by the shots that were taken."
• And UND's expected leadership from juniors Lexi Klabo (19 points) and Fallyn Freije (12 points, 11 rebounds) was solid from start to finish. "Our junior leadership understands what we're trying to do here," said Brewster.
There weren't many negatives in the exhibition win, one that saw every UND player score and log nine or more minutes.
The biggest positive, perhaps, was the outside shooting of junior-college transfer Melissa Dailey. The point guard from Portland, Ore., finished with 17 points, hitting on 7-of-11 shots and 3-of-6 three-point attempts.
She also had four rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.
"That's why we brought her and her sister (Megan) here," added Brewster. "Megan (who didn't suit up) is more of a spot-up shooter while Melissa has a little more shake in her game. She's a junior-college all-American. It was a good showing for her first day out."
Klabo, who was named to the preseason all-Big Sky Conference team, said the pace indeed was faster than in her previous seasons.
"Personally, this was the fastest game I've played," said Klabo. "And it was good to get out there and see where we're at. We had fun out there; everyone had good effort and worked hard. If you run hard, you can get easy buckets."
Overall, UND shot 39-of-72 from the field (54 percent) and held a 53-19 rebounding advantage against the smaller Cougars, led by Mauren Thiesen's 10 points.
UND's caliber of competition takes a step up as the Hawks will host Division II Minnesota-Crookston on Wednesday.
UND's season opener is set for Nov. 10 at No. 19 Oregon State.