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Down to eight players, UND women's basketball team falls in overtime to Kansas City in Summit League play

Hawks remain winless on the season at 0-7

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Fighting Hawks captain Julia Fleecs fights past the Roos defense under the hoop in the second quarter of Saturday's home matchup versus Kansas City. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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As it turns out, eight isn’t quite enough.

With a roster down to eight players due to COVID-19, UND -- for nearly three quarters -- seemed poised to win its first game of the season. But that triumph will have to wait a few more days as Kansas City rallied for a 71-67 overtime win over the Fighting Hawks on Saturday at The Betty in the Summit League opener for both teams.

Four of UND’s five starters played 41 or more minutes and the Hawks -- despite shooting poorly much of the second half -- still had a shot to win in the closing seconds of regulation.

But in the extra session, Kansas City -- making its return to the Summit after a seven-year absence -- controlled much of the five minutes. Mandy Williams’ basket at 2:59 of OT put the Roos up 62-60. And two minutes later, that lead was 67-60 as four UND turnovers in OT didn’t help.

“Fatigue may have been a factor but our girls didn’t show it much,” said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. “Some of our defensive lapses down the stretch maybe can be blamed on that. But we had great effort.”

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UND had a steady game early and a second-quarter spurt put the Hawks up by 17 just before halftime.

But the Roos chipped away at UND’s lead in the third quarter as the Hawks struggled from the field, making only 2 of 17 from the floor.

“The third quarter has been kind of an Achilles’ heel for us,” said Bernhard. “We’re going to have to address that. We can’t be shooting 12 percent in a quarter. If we do that, we have to be a lockdown defensive team.”

UND led for more than 33 minutes and two Jaclyn Jarnot (18 points) free throws with 42 seconds left in regulation gave the Hawks a 59-58 advantage. A Paige Bradford free throw with 4.7 seconds left tied the game. And the Hawks had a chance for the win but Mikayla Reinke couldn’t get off a shot in the lane in the last second for the win.

UND had a number of chances to finish in the lane but came up short.

“Our offense generated some good looks; we have to improve our finishing,” said Bernhard.

Julia Fleecs led the Hawks with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jarnot added 13 rebounds and also hit 3 of 5 three-pointers.

UND shot 33 percent but was shooting at a 44 percent clip at halftime, which saw the Hawks leave the floor with a 36-23 advantage. And UND outrebounded The Roos 50-40.

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But cool shooting -- especially in the third quarter -- and some crucial second-half turnovers -- let the Roos -- led by Naomie Alnatas’ 21 points -- hang around and eventually take over.

Because of UND’s COVID issues, Sunday’s scheduled game against Kansas City was canceled.

UND will take an 0-7 record to Oral Roberts next weekend.

“We were right there,” said Jarnot. “We have to keep our composure. It slipped away at the end.”

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