WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: UND continues homestand in games against Weber State, Idaho State
It's the time of the season when postseason speculation begins to swirl. And, for the first time in UND's Division I women's basketball era, North Dakota is mentioned when it comes to the NCAA tournament. In the latest ESPN Bracketology, UND is l...
It’s the time of the season when postseason speculation begins to swirl.
And, for the first time in UND’s Division I women’s basketball era, North Dakota is mentioned when it comes to the NCAA tournament.
In the latest ESPN Bracketology, UND is listed as a No. 14 seed and will play No. 3 Baylor in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The No. 14 seed comes as ESPN is speculating UND will win the Big Sky Conference tournament and receive the league’s automatic bid to the tournament.
It may be fun to talk about that but it’s all speculation. And it’s all meaningless as far as UND coach Travis Brewster is concerned.
“Bracketology … hoopology … it’s all ology,” said Brewster. “I’m all about results. You have to stay focused. You can’t get caught up in what’s going on out there. You have to stay humble. You can’t get all conceited out there.
“To be honest, we don’t take time to look at that stuff because when you do someone is going to pass you.”
UND certainly doesn’t want to get passed by Weber State tonight when the teams meet at The Betty as North Dakota continues its four-game homestand. The Wildcats are 0-15 in the league and 4-15 overall.
UND is 9-2 in the Big Sky and sits atop the standings. Overall, UND is 14-6 and may be playing its best basketball of the season.
UND certainly will be favored against Weber and on Saturday against Idaho State. But UND’s focus this week isn’t on the distant future.
“It’s hard not to look ahead,” said sophomore guard Kelsey Knox. “But we know the first thing is winning the conference. And before that, you have to win against Weber State.”
Weber, a perimeter-oriented team, did give UND some trouble last month in Ogden, Utah, where North Dakota managed an 83-72 win.
“On that trip, we didn’t play our best basketball,” said Knox. “But we found a way to win. That’s how we’ve been all season.”
UND again will have a size and strength this week against Weber and Idaho State.
UND has outrebounded opponents by 11.2 boards per game, tops in the Big Sky and sixth in the country. And UND has outrebounded an opponent by 20 or more boards four times this season. Mia Loyd, a 5-foot-11 freshman, leads UND in rebounding with a 9.7 boards per game.
Also, UND ranks sixth in Division I with 6.2 blocks per game.
“A lot has been made about our rebounding but it’s something we work on every day in practice by executing simple drills,” said Brewster. A lot has been made about our rebounding but that’s something we work every day in practice by executing simple drills.”
But UND also has become more efficient on offense, perhaps as important as the team’s physical advantage it has against nearly every Big Sky team.
“We’re starting to identify shots better,” said Brewster. “We’re moving the ball better and getting it to the open shooter. We’re shooting with much more confidence.”