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It's early March, the time college basketball teams usually can't overcome a clunker of a performance. But UND can take a Mulligan heading into Saturday's Big Sky Conference men's basketball game against Portland State at The Betty. A UND win will give the Fighting Hawks at least a share of the Big Sky regular-season title and the No. 1 seed heading into next week's league postseason tournament in Reno, Nev.
UND's bid for its first Big Sky Conference men's basketball title will have to wait. How long the wait now is the big question facing the Hawks. Sacramento State derailed UND's title plans with a grind-it-out 57-53 win over the Fighting Hawks on Thursday night before 2,266 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND dropped to 13-4 in the Big Sky and 18-9 overall while Sacramento State is now 9-8 and 12-16.
It wasn't until late in the girls basketball season that defense became a consistent strength for Grant County. There was a spurt in midseason when the Coyotes allowed 44 or more points in four out of five games. "We gave up a lot of points early in the year,'' Coyotes coach Nicole Bentz said. "We were still winning, but I think the girls realized they could play good defense. It's a mindset.''
The trey has been a big part of the Kindred offense this season. The Vikings averaged 6.9 three-pointers per game and 33 percent shooting accuracy. They topped both those numbers Thursday in defeating Edgeley-Kulm-Montpelier 56-41 in the opening round of the North Dakota Class B girls high school basketball tournament at the Alerus Center. Kindred made nine treys. The Vikings were actually more accurate from beyond the 3-point line, going 9-of-17 (52 percent), than they were on 2-point attempts (46 percent).
FARGO—With about three minutes remaining in the East Region semifinals, Fargo Shanley head coach Steve Jacobson called a timeout and challenged his team. With only a small lead, Jacobson gave the Deacons a choice—either finish strong or don't return to the region championship.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—UND clinched a share of the Big Sky Conference women's basketball regular-season title Wednesday night by downing Sacramento State 92-78. The win improves UND to 15-2 in the Big Sky and 20-8 overall. UND closes out the regular season Friday night at Portland State. A win in Portland or a Montana State (14-3, 21-6) loss will give the Fighting Hawks the No. 1 seed heading into next week's Big Sky postseason tournament in Reno, Nev.
A lot is at stake for the UND men's basketball team Thursday night—a share of the regular-season Big Sky Conference title; the No. 1 seed in next week's postseason Big Sky tournament in Reno, Nev.; and the chance of winning 20 games in a season—an impressive benchmark for any college program. But looking at the big picture can wait, says UND coach Brian Jones as the Fighting Hawks host Sacramento State tonight at The Betty before closing out the regular season Saturday against Portland State.
Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald is the North Dakota 2016 sportswriter of the year. The National Sports Media Association announced the state winners Wednesday. He will receive his award at the 58th annual NSMA Awards Weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C., on June 25-26. Schlossman started at the Herald in 2003 and began covering UND hockey in 2005. Last week, Schlossman received three top-10 writing awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2016 writing contest. The North Dakota sportscaster of the year is Steve Linzmeier of KQDJ Radio in Jamestown.
Back home in Perth, Australia, Samantha Roscoe didn't play much under the basket even though she's 6-foot-3. "I'm used to playing outside and shooting more from the outside," she said. "I've always liked to shoot the 3-pointer but I probably shouldn't be like that since I'm 6-3." UND doesn't mind that Roscoe fires up the occasional three-pointer or mid-range 15-foot jump shot, however.
Omaha received goals from David Pope, Riley Alferd and Austin Ortega to down UND 3-0 on Saturday night in a National Collegiate Hockey Conference game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The teams split their NCHC series. UND completes its regular season next weekend at Miami. Omaha 3, UND 0 First period—1. OMA, David Pope 13 (Luc Snuggerud 19, Austin Ortega 25) 8:45 (pp). Penalties—Riley Alferd, OMA, tripping, 5:35; Trevor Olson, UND, boarding, 8:03; Lukas Buchta, OMA, slashing, 19:21; Shane Gersich, UND, cross-checking, 19:21