UND women's basketball: Attitude adjustment

Just over a year ago, UND left Tempe, Ariz., with a renewed sense of purpose. Arizona State had just beaten the Sioux 67-43, a loss that dropped UND's record to 1-6.

Just over a year ago, UND left Tempe, Ariz., with a renewed sense of purpose. Arizona State had just beaten the Sioux 67-43, a loss that dropped UND's record to 1-6.

"About that time, we threw everything into a bucket and said we're going to outwork teams," UND coach Gene Roebuck said. "That's all we can do."

The hard work paid off for UND, which went on to finish with a 17-13 record and a regular-season Great West Conference title.

The Sioux are 1-6 again this season, entering Saturday's game at Northern Iowa. Like last year, UND again is at a crossroads. And the Sioux have had a week to regroup and think about what's ahead.

"It was good to get a week off," Roebuck said. "We've been smashed in the mouth a couple of times, big time. We really didn't react to what was coming. We kind of backed up and didn't go at teams.


"Win, lose or draw, you have to play and you have to be aggressive and go after teams. We really didn't pick ourselves up. The week off was good to regroup and get a better feeling about ourselves and get our attention to where it should be."

Since UND moved to Division I, a slow start has been the norm. In 2008-09, UND was 2-4 before finishing 18-11. The Sioux were 3-12 before they hit Great West Conference play.

"It's early in the season and we started this way last year," UND senior Mallory Youngblut said. "Right now, our record isn't that great or where we'd like to see it, but we're taking away what we can and learning that there is that next level ... and once conference comes, hopefully we can play at that level."

However, there are two differences from this season and last.

The Sioux are younger than last season and their schedule borders on brutal, as UND's nonconference season includes Gonzaga, Kansas State and Wisconsin-Green Bay -- three teams with a combined record of 24-5.

"Last year, when we got past the Arizona State game, we felt we outworked teams," Roebuck said. "We got our attention pointed in the right direction and started to play hard.

"This team needs to understand that. We have young players. We have a couple of junior college players. They need to understand they need to play hard every possession and that's something we haven't done."

Freshman 6-foot-4 center Allyssa Wall leads UND in scoring, averaging 9.6 points. Youngblut is second at 8.7, as is another freshman, Megan Lauck. And Madi Buck, another freshman, is emerging as one of UND's top scorers after having her redshirt pulled a couple of weeks ago.


"Madi is fearless; she's getting better every day," Roebuck said. "There is going to have to be more playing time for Madi."

UND's schedule won't get any easier after the Northern Iowa game. The Sioux play at Creighton next Monday. Toledo, Colorado and Western Kentucky also remain before UND hits conference play.

Youngblut is one of two seniors on the team. She also has another role, that of guiding the freshmen.

"I tell them not to get too caught up in things," Youngblut said. "Even though our record is 1-6, you have to keep your head up."

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to .

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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