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UND's Jossy Bergan admits things were difficult for the Sioux in November and December. "Our dobbers were down," she said. But January and February have felt like old times for the Sioux women's program. The Sioux, who are in their second Division I season, have been winning and again are in line for another conference championship -- just like the old days of Division II. With a win tonight against Houston Baptist, UND will win the inaugural Great West Conference regular-season title outright.
The national signing day came and went last month, but that didn't mean recruiting had ended for UND. UND has signed a receiver-return specialist out of Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, the 25th player of the 2010 Sioux recruiting class. UND coach Chris Mussman said 5-foot-10, 170-pound receiver Isaac Carrasco signed a letter of intent Sunday, a player who could give the Sioux more speed -- a necessity as the program prepares for its third Division I season in the fall. "We'll use Isaac in space," Mussman said. "We need depth at the receiver position.
So far, so good for the Fargo North Spartans. Fargo North will be shooting for its third straight championship when the Spartans take on West Fargo in the title game of the North Dakota state tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena. North reached the title game with a 3-0 win against Fargo South in Friday's semifinals. It wasn't an easy win, much like the Spartans' opening-round win against Jamestown. "Anything can happen," North coach Kris Dougherty said. North easily defeated Jamestown twice this season, but needed overtime in the quarterfinals to edge the Blue Jays.
Bismarck High coach Mike Peluso wanted to say a few things to his team after the Demons downed West Fargo 5-2 on Thursday in the opening game of the North Dakota state high school hockey tournament. He wasn't overly pleased with his team's play. But the Demons already knew that. "I walked into the locker room and it was almost like we didn't win," Peluso said. "They know how they're supposed to play.
After the first period, Williston coach Dustin Bratlien had the feeling that not much has changed for West Region hockey, the understudy to the East Region teams for years. Williston trailed Fargo South -- a perennial East Region power -- 1-0 after the opening period. Another East Region team, it appeared, was on course for another win against the West. But things did change in the final two periods.
Out of necessity, UND took on New Jersey Institute of Technology in a weekday matinee at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. But the Sioux and Highlanders put on a show worthy of prime time. In one of the more raucous games in recent UND men's basketball history, the Sioux beat NJIT 90-78 on Tuesday in a Great West Conference game that resulted in the following: n Patrick Mitchell's 10 three-pointers, which tied UND's single-game record that has stood since 1994.
The timing of the game won't produce a lot of fans. But a win will produce an easier path to the inaugural Great West Conference women's basketball title. UND hosts New Jersey Institute of Technology today at noon at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, a game that will have a significant impact on the Great West race. UND is 6-1 in the conference and 11-13 overall, while the Highlanders are 5-1 and 10-11 overall. The game originally was scheduled for Feb.
UND's Travis Bledsoe, who spent much of the season battling a nagging injury, is having more fun playing basketball these days.
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, like UND, is making the painful transition to Division I men's basketball. "It takes braves souls to go through this," SIUE coach Lennox Forrester said. "Give these programs credit for doing this." And give SIUE credit for outplaying UND on Thursday night, as the Cougars outshot the Sioux 91-76 before 1,752 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. SIUE improved to 4-21, while UND -- which had won three of its last four -- dropped to 6-18. "Our guys made shots; that was the bottom line," Forrester said.
A healthy Travis Bledsoe means a healthy UND offense -- a unit that has struggled to put up points for much of the season. And Bledsoe's health of late is just fine. UND's offense, as a result, has been medically cleared. The play of Bledsoe, the leading scorer in the Great West Conference, is a big reason for UND's turnaround of late. The Sioux, who have won three of their last four, host SIU-Edwardsville tonight at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.