Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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As advertised, UND's game against Idaho State on Thursday night was low-scoring, physical and defensive-minded. Again, however, UND received top billing as the Fighting Hawks muscled their way to a 63-56 Big Sky Conference women's basketball win over the Bengals in front of 1,710 fans at The Betty. UND improved to 12-2 in the league and 17-8 overall while Idaho State, a team fighting through some injuries and also for a first-round bye in next month's league postseason tournament, dropped to 8-5 and 14-10.
UND took care of its Big Sky Conference men's basketball business at home the past two weeks. Now, UND has a chance to put itself in position to possibly seal the deal this weekend on the road. The Fighting Hawks are 10-3 in the league and 15-8 overall as they prepare for road games Thursday night at Idaho State and Saturday at league power Weber State. UND is a half game behind first-place Weber (10-2, 15-8). With a win Thursday night, UND would have a late-season showdown at Weber on Saturday for at least a share of the Big Sky lead.
The Big Sky Conference women's basketball season officially is in the stretch run. There are three weekends of play remaining before the 12 league teams head for Reno, Nev., and the Big Sky postseason tournament. UND has five regular-season games remaining, three at home. And the Fighting Hawks are in a three-way tie for first place with Northern Colorado and defending champion Montana State, which now is riding a seven-game winning streak. UND, UNC and Montana State are all 11-2 in the league. All three have five games remaining.
West Fargo 6, GF KnightRiders 0 The visiting West Fargo girls hockey team blanked the Grand Forks KnightRiders on Tuesday night at Eagles Arena. West Fargo's Courtney Walsh and Talexi Gasal notched two goals each in the win, keeping KnightRider goalies Quinn Kuntz and Teresa Mattson busy with 29 and 20 stops, respectively. "We got outworked most of the game," said KnightRider coach Alex Hedlund. "We just need to find a way to put 51 minutes together and create more chances." Grand Forks will open the state tournament against West Fargo next week.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota struck early and often to down North Dakota 6-2 on Saturday in the finale of a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at Ridder Arena. UND fells to 13-13-6 (10-11-5-3 WCHA) on the season, while Minnesota, ranked No. 4, improves to 23-5-3 (19-4-3-2). The Fighting Hawks struggled in the first two periods as they were outshot 30-13.
MOSCOW, Idaho—Well, it had to end sometime. UND's road win streak in the Big Sky Conference came to an end Saturday as Idaho downed the Fighting Hawks 74-61 at the Cowan Spectrum. UND had won 12 straight Big Sky road games dating back to last season entering the contest against the Vandals. UND dropped to 11-2 in the league and 16-8 overall. The race for the league's regular-season title got a little more crowded as well.
It's been an up-and-down season for UND's Carson Shanks. There was no question, however, where Shanks' season was trending Saturday at The Betty. The 7-foot junior was trending upward, as his play off the bench was the spark in UND's 88-65 Big Sky Conference men's basketball win over Idaho before 2,345 fans. Shanks finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. His play during a decisive 13-2 first-half run by UND was the difference.
Quinton Hooker realizes he has a limited amount of home games remaining in his UND men's basketball career. So the UND senior wants to make the most of his remaining appearances at The Betty. Few will forget his latest performance, one that led UND past Eastern Washington 95-86 on Thursday night before 1,891 fans. The game was a showdown of sorts, with both UND and EWU tied for second place in the Big Sky Conference entering the night. The win improved UND to 9-3 in the league and 14-8 overall while EWU slipped to 8-4 and 16-9.
Tonight, there are 97 Division I men's basketball games scheduled in the country. Only four of the 97 contests feature matchups between conference opponents with eight more more league wins. One of the four is set for The Betty, where UND hosts Eastern Washington. Both teams are 8-3 in the Big Sky Conference. UND is 13-8 overall while Eastern Washington is 16-8.
Each racing circuit has its crown jewel: NASCAR has the Daytona 500; the Indy Racing League has the Indianapolis 500; and the World of Outlaws have the Knoxville Nationals. And so on. For Dave Nisbet, a 2005 East Grand Forks Senior High graduate, a career in racing has allowed him to celebrate wins in two of the biggest races in motor sports. Last week, Nisbet was on the pit crew that won the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona, arguably the country's top race for sports cars. In 2014, Nisbet was on Ryan Hunter-Reay's pit crew that won the Indianapolis 500.