WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: UND regroups and claims 64-59 overtime victory against Idaho State
UND entered Saturday's Big Sky Conference game against Idaho State on top of the league standings. By halftime, it appeared nothing would change as UND led by 12 points. But there is one thing that is certain this season in the league -- nothing ...
UND entered Saturday’s Big Sky Conference game against Idaho State on top of the league standings. By halftime, it appeared nothing would change as UND led by 12 points.
But there is one thing that is certain this season in the league - nothing comes easy no matter the opponent.
Idaho State rallied to take a brief lead before UND regrouped and forged a hard-nosed 64-59 overtime win before 1,847 fans at The Betty.
The difference in the overtime perhaps was more mental than physical.
“We had five minutes to prove why we’re the No. 1 team in the conference,” said Mia Loyd, who led UND with 17 points. “We did a good job finishing as a team.”
UND improved to 11-2 in the Big Sky and 16-6 overall while Idaho State, which had won six of its last seven, dropped to 7-5 and 9-12. The win had extra meaning for UND, considering North Dakota hits the road for two games this week against Montana State and perennial power Montana.
“That was a tough game,” said UND coach Travis Brewster. “Just having a team win at this time of the year is big because it shows we have a little bit of grit. It’s the time of the year to play basketball and you have to figure it out each time.”
UND led 33-21 at the break but Sheryl Bitter’s 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Bengals a 51-48 lead with 2:53 left.
Some solid defense in the final two minutes led UND back. Two Kelsey Knox free throws with 14.9 seconds left in regulation gave UND a 53-51 lead and capped a 5-0 run. Rebecca Schrimpsher’s putback, however, with 2.3 seconds left tied the game, forcing OT.
UND controlled the extra session. Madi Buck (13 points), Makailah Dyer and Knox all scored in the first 2½ minutes gave UND a 59-55 advantage, one North Dakota nursed the rest of the way.
Emily Evers, who finished with eight points and eight rebounds, came up big defensively, blocking Alissa Willard’s 3-point attempt with 13 seconds to play with UND holding a 62-59 lead.
“She was open and it was like, ‘You’re not going to get this shot off,’ ” said Evers.
UND beat Idaho State 48-47 earlier this season in Pocatello. The Bengals, like UND, have been one of the hottest teams in the league.
“There is a reason why they’ve won six of their last seven,” said Brewster. “Again, it came down to last-second shots and rebounds. And we got some key rebounds when we needed them.”
Neither team shot well; UND 39 percent and Idaho State 34 percent. But UND again owned the boards, outrebounding the Bengals 46-32.
Idaho State split its last two games on the road, winning at Northern Colorado on Thursday.
“We try to stay away from moral victories,” said Idaho State coach Seton Sobolewski of the usually satisfying road split. “We wanted to win.”
But he also knows how tough it has been to win Big Sky road games this season.
“Every game, you have to show up,” he said. “There is no game in this league where you think if we show up and play hard you’ll win. Playing hard is the minimum. You have to go in and make things happen.
“North Dakota has a great toughness and they’re well led. It’s tough to beat a team like that on the road.”