UND turns Hamilton Gymnasium into Betty West, routs Denver 82-67
Juliet Gordon, playing with a broken nose, scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.
DENVER — Mallory Bernhard walked down the hallway when her team arrived at Richie Center on Thursday afternoon and popped into the UND men's hockey practice going on next door.
She had an idea.
"Let's make this place Betty West tonight," she told staff members at Magness Arena.
Then, she turned back down the hall, strolled about 50 feet, entered Hamilton Gymnasium and watched her Fighting Hawks women's basketball team do exactly that.
UND stormed to a 17-2 lead to start the game and went on to handle the University of Denver 82-67 in Summit League action.
With plenty of green in the stands, the Fighting Hawks looked every bit like the team that's 11-1 at home in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center this season.
"To bring the energy, to bring the intensity that we have at the Betty out here was really good," said Bernhard, UND's third-year coach. "We were trying to call it Betty West with as many fans as we had in the stands and the energy we were trying to bring on the bench a little bit. So, it was nice. It's good for us and what we're trying to do to make a push here at the end of the season."
Juliet Gordon, playing with a broken nose and a healing black eye, scored a career-high 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, added three assists and was a plus-33.
"Broken nose, black eye, it's all right," Gordon said laughing.
Gordon shot 8-of-11 overall, 3-of-4 from three and scored 14 of her points in the opening 15 minutes of the game, pushing the Fighting Hawks to a 47-point first half.
"What didn't she do well tonight?" Bernhard said. "She shot the ball incredibly well. She rebounded well. That was probably the most quiet double-double I've ever seen. She took care of the ball. Defensively, she did some nice things. She had a great game. She really did set the tone for us early.
"She's a leader for us. She's an absolute leader for us — toughness, doing things the right way. It's awesome to see her have games like that."
The 5-foot-11 forward from Australia credited her teammates.
"I think the team just put me in spots where they knew I could score," Gordon said. "They gave me really good options to put the ball on the floor or get layups. Thirteen assists in a half is crazy for us. I think we distributed the ball really well."
UND had two other players in double figures. Claire Orth finished with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while Kacie Borowicz added 12. Maggie Manson also hit three timely three-pointers as UND pulled away for the 15-point victory — its largest in a Summit League road game since Feb. 28, 2019, in Fort Wayne, Ind.
With the win, UND improved to 14-9 overall and 7-6 in the Summit League, while finishing a regular-season sweep of the Pioneers. UND has now beaten Denver five-straight times.
This was extra important as the Fighting Hawks started the season 1-8 on the road.
"Definitely needed," Gordon said of the road victory. "It was a good confidence boost. I think we all knew we had to take care of business this weekend. Now, we have another one on Saturday to do."
The game got away from Denver (10-15 overall, 6-8 Summit) early.
The Pioneers missed three-pointers on six of their first seven possessions of the game, while UND opened 8-for-10.
It took 5:23 for UND to stake a 17-2 lead. The Pioneers never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
"You couldn't start it any better," Bernhard said. "We were moving the ball, we were finding great looks, getting some layups, knocking down shots and limiting them to one shot. We made them really work for their looks."
UND moved up to fourth place in the tightly packed Summit League standings with the win.
The Fighting Hawks close the weekend with a game at Omaha at noon Saturday.
"Road wins are going to be huge for us," Bernhard said, "especially finishing on the road for the majority of the season."