Hawks bounce back with Summit League win over Omaha

UND faced Omaha on Thursday night at The Betty, which led to this question: How would UND – coming off a two-win season last year – respond to an 0-3 start?

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UND's Jolene Daninger dribbles around Omaha's Josie Filer in the first half of their game Thursday, January 6, 2022, at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

UND opened the Summit League women’s basketball season playing the top three-ranked teams in the preseason poll. The Hawks lost all three, two on the road.

UND faced Omaha on Thursday night at The Betty, which led to this question: How would UND – coming off a two-win season last year – respond to an 0-3 start?

The Hawks responded well, taking a 71-57 win over Omaha – a victory that saw UND shoot 50 percent, control the boards and place four players in double figures.

UND is now 1-3 in the Summit and 7-8 overall and will seek a weekend Summit sweep Saturday against Denver.

“Getting that first conference win feels really good,” said UND junior point guard Kacie Borowicz, who led the Hawks with 17 points and 8 rebounds. “It gives us more confidence going into Saturday’s game.”


UND opened Summit play against North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State. South Dakota was ranked No. 1 in the preseason league poll, with SDSU and NDSU rated second and third, respectively.

The Hawks lost a six-point game to NDSU, were thumped by 19 at South Dakota and fell 72-54 at SDSU, where they played the Jacks on even terms except for a stretch in the third quarter.

“We opened with an incredibly difficult stretch,” said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. “When you see an 0-3 record, you can get your heads down a little bit. But our team didn’t let that happen.

“We felt we needed to come into this game with a bit more confidence and we built some of that down at SDSU. And we had a good week of practice.”

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UND's Kacie Borowicz sets the offense in the second quarter against Omaha Thursday. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

There were nine lead changes in the first quarter, giving the indication the game would go down to the wire.

But the Hawks went on a 13-2 run to take a 29-22 lead in the second quarter before Omaha (1-3, 5-8) responded with a 10-0 run to close the first half.

But UND expanded on a 38-35 halftime lead with a strong second half. The balanced scoring stood out. Claire Orth added 15 points, while Olivia Lane finished with 12 and Magie Manson 10 as the Hawks shot 26 of 52 from the field and consistently got to the free-throw line where they made 16 of 18.

The only hiccup was UND’s showing against full-court pressure by the Mavericks in the fourth quarter. But a handful of late turnovers didn’t matter as UND had built a 66-50 lead with three minutes to play.


“You have to give them credit,” said Orth. “They kept making runs, trying to fight back. But we did well, having composure and keeping the lead down the stretch.”

NDSU beat Denver 74-68 on Thursday night, a score that is a likely indicator that the Pioneers should be a strong test for UND.

“A sweep would be awesome,” said Bernhard. “It would put us close to .500 in league play. And that would be a good place to be after the way we started.

“But Denver is a tough team and it’s going to be a very different game. The score Saturday could be in the 90s.”

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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