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Down to eight healthy players, the Sioux who still could play were asked to give a little more by UND women's basketball coach Gene Roebuck. "Coach said earlier in the day that everyone had to give 10 percent more," sophomore Mallory Youngblut said. Youngblut contributed more than an extra 10 percent -- much more. In perhaps her career game, Youngblut's 21 points and 15 rebounds led shorthanded UND to an 82-66 win against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Thursday night in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The win came two days after center Whitney Ledger went down with a season-ending kne
Whitney Ledger and Kierah Kimbrough are best friends. They came to UND to play basketball in fall 2005. They've gone through the usual amount of ups and downs during their careers as they've helped UND win 106 of 120 games since their first season. The lowest of the lows, however, came earlier this week when Ledger went down with a knee injury during a practice. "After Whit went down, I wasn't mentally there," Kimbrough said. "I was thinking of her.
Officially, UND won't play league games until next season when Great West Conference competition begins. Unofficially, the Sioux are involved in league play this season -- competing against similar first-year Division I programs that have no conference home for the time being. UND will spend the final two weeks of the regular season playing against Seattle, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and possibly South Dakota if the teams match up in UND's tournament for Division I transition teams March 7-8.
After 22 years as the UND women's basketball coach, Gene Roebuck still considers his job fun -- and one of the best in the state. "This is a dream job for anyone growing up in North Dakota," Roebuck said.
For historical buffs, Hamline University out of St. Paul held the longest winning streak against UND in the history of Sioux men's basketball. The Pipers had defeated the Sioux 14 straight times from 1943-1958.
As 10 UND men's basketball players headed south for a game, Sioux freshman center Mitch Wilmer and his buddies headed north -- to Lake of the Woods for a weekend of ice fishing. "We had the weekend off so my mom called me up earlier in the week and told me to bring a few guys up there," Wilmer said. "My dad is a beekeeper and he left for California. So, five of us went up there. The weather was a little bad.
UND spent a week trying to forget about a tough loss at Seattle University, where the Sioux lost a five-point lead -- and the game -- in less than a minute. "If you learn from a bad experience, you get better," UND coach Gene Roebuck said. The Sioux learned the best way to avoid a repeat of a last-minute meltdown is to gain control early. And that's what UND did against Houston Baptist on Saturday, cruising to a 95-67 win in front of 2,675 Betty Engelstad Sioux Center fans. Kierah Kimbrough's 32 points led the way.
The view of UND's future in Division I football became a little clearer Thursday when the school released portions of its 2010, 2011 and 2012 schedules. The Sioux will play guarantee games at Fresno State of the Western Athletic Conference in 2011 and at San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference in 2012. In 2010 and 2011, UND will play guarantee games at Idaho -- another WAC program.
As a first-year Division I program that has traveled to 13 states, the UND women's basketball team has seen various styles of play this season. One style stands out above the others. UND's game at Houston Baptist last month resembled a style of play usually found on the streets. The Sioux, however, didn't have too many complaints. "We kind of liked that, being able to play without getting called for ticky-tack fouls," UND junior Whitney Ledger said. But the game, which UND won 67-54, turned ugly late when point guard Jossy Bergan hit the floor hard on what UND players believed was a cheap
As a first-year Division I program, the learning curve for the UND men's basketball program has been steep. Perhaps the hardest lesson has been figuring out ways to win on the road. "You have to truly understand how hard it is to win at this level, especially on the road," third-year UND coach Brian Jones said. "That's what we're trying to instill in our guys. It's been a learning process for all of them." One goal was to beat an established Division I team on the road. UND accomplished that with a Nov.