Maffin, Guinn to the rescue for Sioux
Regis had UND on its heels for the first 16 minutes. About then, UND's Kelsey Maffin and Danye Guinn decided to put their best foot forward. The two Sioux players keyed an energetic 13-0 run during the last four minutes of the first half to lead ...
Regis had UND on its heels for the first 16 minutes.
About then, UND's Kelsey Maffin and Danye Guinn decided to put their best foot forward.
The two Sioux players keyed an energetic 13-0 run during the last four minutes of the first half to lead UND past Regis 78-63 on Saturday in the semifinal round of the NCAA Division II North Central Region women's basketball tournament in Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
The win advanced UND to Monday night's region championship game against Nebraska-Kearney, the surprise team of the eight-team regional. A trip to the Elite Eight in Kearney, Neb., will be on the line.
Defensive-minded and athletic Regis flustered UND's offense most of the first half. With an aggressive perimeter defense, led by Diana Lopez, who recorded nine steals, UND struggled to find good shots. And the Sioux had trouble hanging on to the ball, too.
But that all changed in the final four minutes of the first half. Maffin and Guinn combined to score 11 points in UND's 13-0 run that gave the Sioux a 35-24 halftime lead.
"The last four or five minutes of the first half, Danye and Kelsey really took over," UND coach Gene Roebuck said.
Both used their athleticism on drives to the basket to help UND distance itself from Regis, an undersized, athletic team that has shot more than 800 three-pointers this season.
"They were up on us real tight," Guinn said. "Penetration was the best way to get them off of us."
Regis' defense was as aggressive as any UND has seen this season. "It was one of the better defenses we've seen," Maffin added. "To break them down, we had to take it right at them."
Maffin led UND with 19 points. Guinn added 14. The point totals were their most since November, a testament to UND's depth that has carried the Sioux to a 31-3 record.
"Our defense the first 18 minutes was pretty doggone good, especially against a team that was much bigger than us," Regis coach Linda Raunig said. "We played our guts out."
UND's 13-0 run to close the first half was the difference, Raunig said. "We gave up too many easy baskets. They made one pass and took it to the basket."
Still, Regis didn't fold before another boisterous Sioux crowd. The 2,069 Sioux fans matched UND's energy the final four minutes of the first half.
However, Regis came out strong to start the second half, cutting UND's lead to four points twice. Again, the Rangers' defense, especially on the perimeter, had a lot to do with that.
Regis forced UND into 24 turnovers, 12 in each half. Lopez' nine steals were the most by any player against the Sioux this season.
"They made it tough for us to get the job done offensively, inside and outside," Roebuck said.
But UND's defense was strong, too, especially in the final four minutes of the first half.
"To get that 11-point lead at halftime, our defense was phenomenal," Roebuck said. "There is a whole lot of difference going into the locker room up by 11 instead of one or two points. We ran some isolation plays for Danye and Kelsey during the last four minutes and they responded."
After Regis cut into UND's lead to start the second half, the Sioux responded again and slowly pulled away behind the continued strong play from Maffin and Guinn in addition to the inside play of Kierah Kimbrough (16 points) and Ashley Langen (13).
The two dominating Sioux post players, however, had to battle through foul trouble in the first half.
UND ended any doubt with a 6-0 run for a 52-37 lead with 12:11 to go. Kimbrough's 3-point play highlighted the spurt. Carissa Jahner and Val Sannes added three free throws.
"Give Val credit," Roebuck added. "Her stats won't show up, but she was on the floor at the end of the first half. Her defense was great."
Regis, which closed out at 26-6, was led by Lopez' 21 points. Her twin sister, Denise, added 14, while Nicole Gross finished with 10.
"Our defensive intensity early kind of caught them on their heels," Raunig said. "They weren't sharp offensively."
Added Diana Lopez: "We had nothing to lose."
Nebraska-Kearney won't have anything to lose on Monday, considering the Lopers came into the tournament as the No.7 seed.