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UND WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: UND inches closer to top Big Sky seed

UND held off Eastern Washington 61-57 on Saturday afternoon to claim at least a share of the Big Sky regular season title.

UND, which improved to 20-8 and 15-4 in league play, locked up the program’s second 20-win season in the Division I era. It’s also the program’s first Big Sky title in the second year in the league.

“It was a true team effort to have success today,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “It goes to show you how tough the Big Sky Conference is — 20 league games are a lot and it makes for a long season. It’s a very exciting opportunity for the team, UND and the city of Grand Forks.”

UND, led by senior Madi Buck’s 16 points, has a chance to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament at second-place Southern Utah on Thursday in the regular-season finale.

The conference champion hosts the Big Sky tournament. UND can avoid the tiebreaker scenarios by winning in Cedar City, Utah.

Against the Eagles, UND led by as many as 15 in the first half. EWU, though, was able to tie the game late.

The Eagles had possession of the ball with UND leading 58-57 with a little more than 30 seconds to play. But Buck stole a pass to the wing and scored in transition to give UND a three-point advantage.

The Eagles countered with a Hayley Hodgins 3-pointer with two seconds remaining. Hodgins leaned into defender Leah Szabla, but no foul was called and the shot came up quite short. Mia Loyd collected the rebound and was fouled. She hit a free throw for the final score.

Emily Evers and Loyd each finished with double doubles. Evers had 12 points and 13 rebounds off the bench, while Loyd had 11 points and 11 boards.