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Before the game, there was little doubt as to the best team in the Big Sky Conference. Montana had put to rest any doubt with 10-straight wins—including six consecutive on the road. The Griz left The Betty on Saturday just as happy as they came into the building, taking a hard-earned 72-67 win over North Dakota before 2,089 fans. It was their 11th straight triumph and school-record seventh consecutive road victory.
Girls basketball Fargo Davies 51, GF Red River 50: Grand Forks Red River had the final possession but couldn't come up with the win against Fargo Davies on Friday night. Jadyn Sondrol led Red River with 18 points while Kenady Steffan (14) and Maggie Steffen (10) also were in double figures. Raegan Linster led Davies with 10 points.
UND would like to forget its early second-half performance against Montana State. Then again, the Fighting Hawks may need to recall that poor showing if things unravel again at some point during the remainder of the season. UND went from good to bad and back to good again in a roller-coaster 75-74 win over Montana State on Thursday night in a Big Sky Conference game before 1,885 fans at The Betty.
UND begins the second half of the Big Sky Conference men's basketball season tonight against Montana State. The Fighting Hawks are 2-7 at the break and 7-14 overall. But the past three months can be forgiven, considering the Hawks—under coach Brian Jones—usually play their best basketball in February, which is labeled as the moving month in the collegiate ranks. Also, Jones can remind his players of his coaching days at Iowa, where he was part of a program that caught fire in March.
The 1,935 fans that turned out for Saturday's Big Sky Conference game between UND and Idaho at The Betty witnessed two rarities:
Last month, UND lost an 11-point lead and the game at Eastern Washington. On Thursday night, UND led the Eagles by 13 points at one point—only to see EWU storm back behind its full-court pressure defense. But UND survived the second meeting, hanging on for an 81-79 win in a Big Sky Conference game before 1,594 fans at The Betty. UND survived 21 turnovers, foul trouble on its leading scorer and a constant full-court press that often took the Hawks out of their offensive rhythm in the final 20 minutes.
On the opening weekend of Big Sky Conference play, UND held leads of 11 points on both Eastern Washington and Idaho. Against EWU, UND led by 11 points with 7:50 to play and led more than 25 minutes before losing 74-70. Two nights earlier, UND led Idaho by 11 points but the Vandals scored 32 third-quarter points en route to an 80-75 win. Those were two disappointing setbacks considering they were road games that were well within the Fighting Hawks' grasp.
Perhaps UND's shooting has been suspect for much of the season, evidenced by a 1-5 start in league play. Perhaps UND's shooting will be a lot better the rest of the season, evidenced by the Fighting Hawks' ability to make shots against league-leading Northern Colorado. One thing is certain, however. UND's perimeter shooting was the big difference Saturday at The Betty where the Hawks overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to beat Northern Colorado 78-70 in a Big Sky Conference women's basketball game before 1,877 fans.
UND is in its sixth season as a Big Sky Conference women's basketball member. The Fighting Hawks have had success in the league, winning two of the previous league five titles. That fact may weigh on UND this season. The Hawks are 1-5 in the Big Sky and 8-9 overall as they prepare for today's home game against Northern Colorado—the top team in the league. UND coach Travis Brewster, however, isn't overly worried about his team's record.
FARGO—Earlier in the day, Bill Chaves was introduced as UND's new athletic director. Later in the day, Chaves was sitting courtside at the UND-North Dakota State men's basketball game at the Scheels Center. So, the Fighting Hawks figured they should make a good first impression on the new AD. They did.