Twice this season, the UND women's basketball team has been forced to play a game with only eight available players due to injuries and coronavirus-related absences.
Not only is that a challenge on gameday, but that's a trying position for a team trying to hold a regular practice.
Even UND interim head coach Mallory Bernhard, who scored more than 1,300 points and sank 220 3-pointers in her career in Grand Forks, has had to step in to provide a scout look for her players at practice.
"We have some coaches stepping in, and (Bernhard) even stepped in a few times to make sure she could hit a couple threes on us," UND senior Mikayla Reinke said. "They do their best to make sure we get the looks of a scout team, and we make it work."
Bernhard said the team combats the short roster at practice by working on individual skills.
"We have some coaches trying to participate," Bernhard said. "Trying is the only word I can use. We're probably not giving the best look but it's interesting. We're doing more breakdown and there's not anything wrong with that, but it's definitely different when you're trying to get live looks and preparing for what the other team is going to show us."
Last weekend, UND was expected to play the team's first two-game Summit League series of the year against Kansas City at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.
But because the Fighting Hawks were shorthanded, the league and the schools agreed to play just one game -- an overtime loss for the Hawks.
In that game, UND had eight available players, although only six were previously regular contributors.
Bernhard didn't say Tuesday during the team's weekly press availability whether more players would be ready to go for the upcoming weekend series at Oral Roberts.
"I don't know if I want to give away that answer," Bernhard said. "Let's make Oral Roberts find that out, alright?"
Against Kansas City, UND was without second-leading scorer Juliet Gordon and 6-foot-6 senior center Melissa Leet. In addition, point guard Makayla Wallace has been out after suffering an injury against North Dakota State on Dec. 16.
Guard Kacie Borowicz, a Minnesota Miss Basketball winner two years ago, has only played a few minutes this season due to an injury. She averaged more than 7.0 points per game as a freshman last year.
Sophomore Olivia Lane, who scored in double figures six times last year, made her first appearance of this season last weekend against Kansas City playing in limited minutes.
UND is 0-7 this season, while Oral Roberts is 2-6. The teams meet 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday as part of doubleheaders with the mens' programs.