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North Dakota falls to Oral Roberts in quarterfinal round of Summit women's basketball tournament

ORU win 61-54 in a game that had 18 lead changes

2022 Summit League Basketball Tournament
UND's Olivia Lane is pressured by ORU's Trinity Moore during the Summit League Basketball Tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center on March 5, 2022 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Richard Carlson/Inertia)
Richard Carlson/Inertia/Richard Carlson/Inertia
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In two previous games against UND this season, Oral Roberts University’s Keni Jo Lippe made only one field goal against the Hawks.

One of ORU’s best players over the past five seasons made up for those regular-season games Sunday in the quarterfinal round of the Summit League women’s basketball tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center,

Lippe scored 22 points, making 8 of 15 from the field, in leading ORU to a grind-it-out 61-54 win over UND.

The Hawks, after making an impressive midseason surge, dropped to 15-15 while ORU improved to 16-14 and will meet top-seed South Dakota State on Monday in the semifinal round.

"This is one of those tough moments," said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. "You look at the game and say, 'Wow, we prepared ourselves and played the game we wanted to play.'

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"We wanted the score to be around where it was but sometimes the shots don't fall."

The loss, however, did not define UND's season.

"But if you look at the big picture, the fact that we're sitting here is something that only our players in the locker room saw happening," said the UND coach. "We were picked ninth at the start of the season and finished fifth. And we had a good run in the middle of the season."

The teams had split during the regular season, each winning on its home floor. UND, the No. 5 seed, rallied from an eight-point deficit in the third quarter and grabbed a 33-32 lead on a Kacie Borowicz basket with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

It was back and forth after that with the No. 4-seeded Golden Eagles. The final lead change, the 18th of the game, came on a Lippe 3-pointer with 5:46 to play, giving ORU a 47-45 lead.

Lippe hit another triple with 4:29 to go, putting ORU up 52-45. From there, the Golden Eagles hit their free throws to seal the win.

"This season has been kind of a struggle for me," said Lippe. "Before the tournament I just had to kind of check myself and just remember that I know I can do this. I've been here before and reminded myself to play the way I know how. It was important for me to come here and deliver the way I needed to."

ORU went 18 of 23 from the line while UND went 7 of 11. Getting to the line is one of ORU’s strengths this season as the Golden Eagles rank No. 6 in NCAA Division I free throws.

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Neither team was effective offensively, as the Hawks shot 31 percent while ORU finished at 32 percent. And UND outrebounded ORU by 17, but had trouble finishing at the rim as well as from the perimeter.

“We’re used to grinding out wins this season but at tournament time, you’ll take it any way you can get it,” said ORU coach Misti Cussen.

Borowicz, who led UND in scoring this season and is a first-team all-Summit player, led the Hawks with 13 points. Melissa Leet, a 6-foot-6 senior, also added 13 points. UND got a big lift off the bench from Jolene Daninger, who finished with 11 points.

"This was one of the most fun seasons I've had in a long time," said Borowicz. "We had such great chemistry and this is the best group of girls I've played with. We had so much fun."

In addition to Lippe’s 22 points, the Golden Eagles received 11 points from Katie Scott.

UND’s season highlight was a six-game winning streak that elevated the Hawks to third place in the Summit.

But the Hawks now want more after making a Summit surge during the season.

"It was kind of fun having doubters," said Bernhard after flipping the season from a 2-19 campaign a year ago. "I'm not sure we'll have as many of those in the future.

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"It was a fun season. Every one of our girls are fully invested and I see them continuing to do that. They're a great group and we showed a lot of growth. I know there is a long way to go and I think we're ready to fight and go for it."

2022 Summit League Basketball Tournament
ORU's Keni Jo Lippe eyes the basket against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at The Summit League Basketball Tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center on March 5, 2022 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)
Dave Eggen/Inertia/Richard Carlson/Inertia
2022 Summit League Basketball Tournament
SIOUX FALLS, SD -UND's Kacie Borowicz looks to pass while defended by ORU's Trinity Moore and Faith Paramore during the Summit League Basketball Tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center on March 5, 2022 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Richard Carlson/Inertia)
Richard Carlson/Inertia/Richard Carlson/Inertia
2022 Summit League Basketball Tournament
UND's Claire Orth brings the ball up court as ORU's Keni Jo Lippe tries for the steal during the Summit League Basketball Tournament at the Denny Sanford Premier Center on March 5, 2022 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Richard Carlson/Inertia)
Richard Carlson/Inertia/Richard Carlson/Inertia

Related Topics: UND BASKETBALL
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 wnelson@gfherald.com.
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