Women’s Basketball Struggles to Gain Ground in Final Pre-Conference Games


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Alex Mailes, Sports Writer

It had been a rough start for the Hawks, starting 0-4 before their pre-conference matchup with the Bison on December 16. They had failed to get within 10 points in all but one game which was their season opener with Marquette. But at the Sanford Athletic Health Center in Fargo on Friday, things seemed to be changingThe Hawks led for the first 39 minutes and even held an 11-point lead in the final 10 minutes. They had also been playing lockdown defense, keep NDSU to zero field goals in their first 16 attempts. Then in the final quarter, the Bison began to rally scoring 13 points in the final 5 minutes while holding UND to 5 tying the game at 61-61 to go into overtime. The Bison continued their dominating play, putting up 13 to UND’s 6 in the final minutes to win 74-67.  

Coach Molly Bernhard was optimistic despite the loss, stating in a press conference after the game, ”Every single game I look at what our team is doing and we’re getting better. We’re preparing ourselves for Summit League play; that’s what this is all about. We can still do some things. We still have a confident group that has proven that for stretches and for a good, good long stretch today, what we’re capable of.” The players also weren’t discourageat the result. Junior Julia Fleecs said after the loss that “The end goal is always March and Summit League play and I thought today was a good reminder of what Summit League play is like and the physicality of it and I think we are prepared for it.” 

Their next game came against the Toledo Rockets, a team that had made an appearance in the top 30 national rankings earlier this year. Toledo was 4-1 heading into the bout on December 21 with their only loss being at the hands of Kent State. Toledo started the game off with an 11-0 run and never looked back, never relinquishing their lead. They held the lead for the rest of the game. The Rockets held UND to 29% shooting from the field and 17% from three in their 64-49 win on Monday over the Fighting Hawks. UND struggled defensively allowing Toledo 34% from three and a field goal percentage of 36% and struggled from the foul line, making 12 for 22. 

Despite the loss, UND’s Juliet Gordon had a dominating performance. She achieved her first career double-double, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Jaclyn Jarnot also had a good night, scoring 10 and being just 2 rebounds shy of a double-double. The Hawks continued to outrebound their opponents, nabbing 47 rebounds to Toledo’s 36. 

This concluded UND’s non-conference play. In spite of the 0-6 record, Coach Bernhard and her players remain confident that they are ready for Summit League play. Bernhard has remained adamant that starting the season with tougher opponents will translate to better conference results. UND finished with a 6-10 Summit League record last year and is looking to improve upon that this year. 


 The Fighting Hawks will be back in action on January 2 at 1:00 pm in their first conference game with UMKC at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Alex Mailes is a Dakota Student Sports Writer. He can be reached at [email protected]