Hawks hope to build off four-game win streak

UND Denver women 3.jpg
UND forward Olivia Lane (34) takes control of the ball under the basket during the Fighting Hawks' game against Denver Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Grand Forks.
Korrie Wenzel / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – The UND women’s basketball team has won its past four games; the Hawks are 10-8 and now are looking at four-straight home games.

Considering last season’s 2-19 record, UND understandably is enjoying its turnaround. The turnaround, however, could be fleeting or it could serve as a springboard for more good times ahead.

That, however, won’t be determined until later this season. UND is concerned only with Oral Roberts – Thursday’s Summit League opponent at The Betty.

UND is coming off a Summit road sweep – winning last week at Western Illinois and St. Thomas. The road sweep was UND’s first as a Summit member.

“Seeing all the hard work we’ve put in on the court and executing the game plan has been awesome,” said UND senior Claire Orth. “We’ve been playing well together. And we’ve had more composure down the stretch. One thing that hurt us last year was that we didn’t execute at the end of the game when it was close. This year, we’ve learned how to do that and now we have confidence at the end of the game.”


Oral Roberts is 4-2 in the Summit – its only losses to South Dakota and South Dakota State. Overall, the Golden Eagles are 9-8.

UND may deserve some pats on the back for its turnaround and winning seven of its past 10 games. But there is more UND wants to accomplish.

“We’re on a four-game winning streak and that’s awesome,” said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. “But we’re not patting ourselves on the back and saying that’s enough. We know we still have an incredibly tough stretch of games coming up. And we have a lot of things we need to get better at. I’m incredibly pleased with our team for the progress it’s made.”

UND’s identity as a team hasn’t fully been determined. But the UND coach said two areas of concern – rebounding and turnovers – have improved recently.

“I think we’re starting to see what our identity is,” said Bernhard. “The rebounding earlier this season was something we needed to figure out. We’ve gotten a lot better at that. The turnovers … that seems to be a UND thing for however long. I can’t explain it. That’s something we need to work on and get better at.”

UND is averaging 15.4 turnovers per game this season. That figure has dropped the past few seasons after the Hawks averaged 18.1 turnovers in 2019.

UND’s scoring balance has been good as well. Kacie Borowicz, who was the Summit League player of the week, leads the Hawks, averaging 18.1 points per game. The former Roseau, Minn., standing, is shooting 43 percent from the point guard position and is shooting 96 percent from the line, which ranks among the best in Division I.

Four other players average between 7.9 and 12.4 points. Olivia Lane is at 12.4 ppg, Orth at 11.1, Melissa Leet at 9.6 and Maggie Manson at 7.9


On Saturday, UND hosts Kansas City, somewhat of a mystery team this season.

The Roos are 1-3 in the Summit but 11-4 overall. It’s a team that had high expectations coming into the season.

The Roos have some quality nonconference wins, including Southern Illinois, Wyoming and Santa Clara. But the one score that stands out is Kansas City’s game against South Dakota. The Roos lost 67-57 to the Yotes, who are ranked No. 9 in this week’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll.

UND simply hopes to build on its momentum of the past two weeks.

“There is a level of excitement and it’s nice to reap the rewards and benefits of the hard work,” said Bernhard. “And so it makes it a little bit easier to go into practice and say, ‘I’m going to bust my butt the next three days and get myself ready because I’ve been doing it; it’s working and paying off.’ ”

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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