Backed by The Betty, Hawks stop losing streak for big Summit League win
UND beats NDSU 82-73 to end eight-game skid against the Bison
GRAND FORKS – A rivalry is no fun for the team that just can’t get over the hump, especially if said rival is located 75 miles to the south.
Since the 2018-19 season, UND has had no success against North Dakota State, which was on an eight-game win streak against the Fighting Hawks coming into Saturday’s game
UND, however, finally flipped the script and had some fun as the Hawks snapped NDSU’s streak with an 82-73 Summit League win before 2,116 fans at The Betty, which is becoming a house of horrors for opponents.
The Betty and its fans could be in the running for team MVP the way it’s going. UND is now 10-0 at home this season
“You can feel their presence; you can tell how much they want it,” said UND guard Jolene Daninger, who hit seven free throws in the final 1:39 to hold off the Bison. “Our fans wanted it just as much as we did.”
Ironically, UND gained control in the third quarter, which has been the Hawks’ worst stretch of basketball for much of the season.
A three-minute, 10-0 run early in the quarter gave the Hawks (5-5, 12-8) a 51-36 lead. The run was punctuated by Maggie Manson’s 3-pointer.
“The third quarter has been the Achilles heel of this team all year long,” said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. “So we went into halftime and said, ‘This is where we have to put our foot down because this is when we’ve given up leads.’ Those three minutes set the tone for the second half.”
NDSU coach Jory Collins said that stretch turned the game.
“That was probably the difference in the game,” said Collins. “I didn’t think we played well in the first half and then we played poorly coming out of halftime. And they played really well.”
UND, led by Claire Orth’s 23 points, built its lead to 65-46 early in the fourth quarter. But NDSU, behind Heaven Hamling’s 28 points, kept chipping away and made things interesting.
Hamling’s 3-pointer with 1:03 left cut UND’s lead to 78-69. The Bison later cut that lead to 78-71, but Daninger’s free throws held off NDSU (7-3, 13-7). And the Hawks finished the game without starters Kacie Borowicz (16 points) and Juliet Gordon (8), as both fouled out.
Daninger’s free throws with 36 seconds remaining brought the crowd to its feet and assured UND the losing streak was about to end.
“It got a little chaotic for a bit but we were able to bring it back down and take care of business,” said Orth. “We were on our toes a little bit but Jole knocked down some big free throws down the stretch.”
Orth was the only UND player on the team that last beat NDSU, Feb. 7, 2019 at The Betty.
Collins, meanwhile, had never lost to UND since taking over the Bison program four years ago.
How big of a deal was the streak to the Bison coach?
“That’s for a lot of other people to talk about,” said Collins. “I know it’s fun for them. But they're a good team. And we’re a good team. None of us are winning all of them. It’s a good environment here. And they're undefeated at home for a reason.”
Manson was a big spark for UND off the bench, scoring all 12 of her points on three-pointers. She hit two of them in the third quarter, her second coming with 1:20 left that produced a 63-46 UND lead.
And she was also involved in the team drenching Bernhard with water in the UND locker room.
“Everyone’s water bottle was full and Mal got the entirety of it,” said Manson. “We celebrated the right way. This game meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I’m just so happy we could bring Hawks Nation a win today.”
UND’s win streak at The Betty will face its biggest test of the season Thursday when Summit power South Dakota State will play UND.