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UND women's basketball: Sioux take winding road to a victory

UND took a strange route to a much-needed win Friday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The path was unlike any Sioux women's basketball coach Gene Roebuck has seen in his two-plus decades at UND. The Sioux went nine minutes without scori...

UND took a strange route to a much-needed win Friday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

The path was unlike any Sioux women's basketball coach Gene Roebuck has seen in his two-plus decades at UND.

The Sioux went nine minutes without scoring, gave up a 24-0 run to their opponent and blew a 20-point lead in the process -- yet won going away.

In a matchup of teams making the transition to Division I women's basketball, UND downed Seattle 66-50 before an announced crowd of 1,676. UND improved to 4-12, a win that was helped by what the Sioux have learned while playing the most demanding schedule in the program's history.

"It's a great win," Roebuck said. "Let's face it, any win right now is a good win. To lose a 20-point lead and win by 16 was very important. This will be a springboard when we start conference play. To lose a 20-point lead and the game, you're going into the conference schedule on a sour note."

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Mallory Youngblut led the Sioux with 21 points and 10 rebounds. She was a factor in bringing UND back from a five-point deficit early in the second half.

The Sioux led 33-13 with four minutes left in the first half as their 3-point shooting was as good as it's been all season. But Seattle threw a trapping defense against the Sioux, which helped the Redhawks close the first half on a 9-0 run. That run eventually stretched to 24-0, capped by Tatiana Heck's basket for a 37-33 lead with 15 minutes, 46 seconds to play.

"We've played a tough schedule and we've learned to fight through adversity," Youngblut said. "That makes a difference. We've played teams recently like Eastern Michigan. All the teams we've played use trapping presses. In the first half, it bothered us. But we sat down at halftime and said, 'Guys, we've played against presses way tougher than this one.' "

UND committed 11 turnovers in the first half, but only two in the final 20 minutes.

"If we stand around, we won't beat anything," Roebuck said. "That's what we did in the first half. In the second half, we were attacking the press together."

Corey Lof's offensive rebound and basket off the fastbreak gave UND a 41-40 lead with 10:42 remaining. By then, UND's crowd was into the game.

"Give credit to our fans; they got behind us," Youngblut said. "It's great to have the fans we have. We might not have the best record, but it was nice to see them here."

After Lof's basket, Youngblut scored four straight points, followed by an Alys Seay basket at 8:12 for a 47-40 lead. Seay's basket, coming on an offensive rebound, produced the loudest roar of the night and forced Seattle to call time.

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After Seay's basket, Seattle came no closer than six points the rest of the way.

"It definitely was a strange game," said first-year Seattle coach Joan Bonvicini, who came to Seattle with 612 wins in her 29-year career. "We knew they'd make a run on us. We got back on our heels and didn't have any answers."

Lof, in one of her best games at UND, finished with 13 points while Jossy Bergan finished with 11.

UND now turns its attention to the Great West Conference. UND plays its first Great West game Thursday at Utah Valley. The first-year league contains other teams making the transition to Division I.

UND's depth was an issue as the Sioux dressed only eight players. Freshmen Katie Houdek and Shyla Kuehl both are out with injuries.

That resulted in Youngblut, Bergan, Lof and Kayla Bagaason all playing 30 or more minutes.

But UND's crowd support helped overcome fatigue.

"Give credit to our fans," Roebuck said. "They willed us to the win. Our fans were right there and that's what got our players into the game."

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UND 66, Seattle 50

Key play: Corey Lof's offensive rebound and basket for a 41-40 UND lead.

Key player: Mallory Youngblut, 21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists.

Related Topics: UND SPORTS
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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