UND's late-season surge mainly has been the result of two things: the Fighting Hawks' dominating rebounding and their ability to get to the free-throw line.

UND's Mia Loyd (2) grabs a rebound away from Montana's Rachel Staudacher Wednesday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

UND’s late-season surge mainly has been the result of two things: the Fighting Hawks’ dominating rebounding and their ability to get to the free-throw line.

On Wednesday, UND found another way; the Hawks -- normally not a great outside shooting team -- made shots consistently from the perimeter.

UND’s sharp first half paved the way in the Hawks’ 73-61 win over Montana before 1,677 fans at The Betty.

More important, the win locked up a top-four finish and first-round bye for UND in next week’s Big Sky Conference tournament in Reno, Nev.

“We wanted one of those top four spots because we know that’s going to be huge going into Reno,” said Mia Loyd, who finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. “Still, we have one more game before the tournament. We can’t settle.”


UND improved to 12-5 in the league and 16-12 overall. The Hawks also have won 11 of their past 12 games. Montana, the league’s preseason favorite, dropped to 11-6 and 18-10. The loss also ended Montana’s seven-game win streak and knocked the Griz out of a top-four spot.

UND’s first-half shooting helped the Hawks grab a 46-29 halftime lead. UND shot 54 percent in the first half, making 5 of 11 three-point attempts.

UND’s sharp shooting was the result of crisp passing. UND finished with 20 assists on 28 field goals.

“Our players played with a sense of urgency,” said UND coach Travis Brewster. “In the first half, we moved the basketball very, very well. We want to get the ball to blur. And we got the ball to the open person.”

Loyd, Makailah Dyer (14 points) and Jill Morton (10) all were in double figures. Most of their scoring came in the first half.

The Griz, however, didn’t go away. Led by Kayleigh Valley (20 points) and McCalle Feller (19), Montana cut UND’s lead to five points twice in the third quarter.

UND, however, regained its composure late in the third quarter. Dyer scored at 1:37 for a 58-51 lead. Leah Szabla then opened the fourth quarter with four straight points before Stephanie Smith’s inside basket at 8:14 gave UND a 64-51 lead. Montana came no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

“We knew they’d go on their run,” said Loyd. “They weren’t shooting well in the first half (31 percent). They have a good team. It was just a matter of staying on top and containing it.”


UND shot 47.5 percent and again was dominant on the boards. The Hawks outrbounded the Griz 49-28.

Outside of a slump for a few minutes during the third quarter, UND’s performance was solid -- a good sign late in the season.

“I’m encouraged by what we’ve been doing,” said Brewster.



UND 73,
Montana 61

Montana           17  12  22  10  - 61           

UND                 21  25  12  15  - 73           


Montana - Haley Vining 1-3 2-2 4, McCalle Feller 5-18 4-4 19, Kayleigh Valley 5-17 10-11 20, Alycia Sims 4-8 0-0 8, Mekayla Isaak 0-2 0-0 0, Sierra Anderson 0-4 0-0 0, Rachel Staudacher 2-3 0-0 4, Hannah Doran 2-4 2-2 4, Jace Henderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-59 18-19 61

UND - Leah Szabla 3-10 2-2 9, Mia Loyd 6-12 3-5 15, Samantha Roscoe 0-3 2-2 2, Makailah Dyer 4-13 5-8 14, Stephanie Smith 3-4 0-2 6, Jill Morton 5-7 0-0 10, Kanani Asuncion 0-0 0-0 0, Kelsey Knox 1-1 0-0 3, Ellie Ripplinger 0-1 0-0 0, Sydney Boike 0-0 0-0 0, Lexi Klabo 3-4 0-0 6, Fallyn Freije 3-4 0-0 8. Totals 28-59 12-19 73

3-point-goals - Montana 5-17 (Vining 0-1, Feller 5-12, Sims 0-1, Anderson 0-2, Doran 0-1), UND 5-16 (Szabla 1-5, Loyd 0-1, Dyer 1-6, Knox 1-1, Freije 2-3);  Rebounds - Montana 28 (Sims 5), U ND 49 (Loyd 15, Szabla 8); Assists - Montana 14 (Vining 5), UND 20 (Loyd 6, Szabla 4, Dyer 4, Knox 4)


NJCAA Division III

March 10 quarterfinals

In Lincroft, N.J.

Roxbury vs. Ocean

Northland vs. Sullivan

Mohawk Valley vs. Anoka-Ramsey

Mid-Michigan vs. West Georgia Tech



Montana's Kayleigh Valley and UND's Samantha Roscoe chase a loose ball during their game Wednesday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

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
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