UND Women’s Basketball defeats NDSU This Past Saturday  

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

 The stakes on Saturday, January 28th could not have felt higher. The University of North Dakota was looking to extend their home winning streak to 10 and 0 all against a familiar foe from Fargo, North Dakota State University. After ending 2022 on a New Year’s Eve loss to the NDSU Bison in Fargo, UND was looking for a little revenge and to defend the Betty. They emerged victorious. UND defeated NDSU 82-73 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on the afternoon of Saturday, January 28th.  

The game was tight in the first half with both teams exchanging leads and battling for an edge. By the end of the first two quarters, the score was 35-31 in favor of UND. The victory was secured when UND pulled away to a 19-point lead in the 3rd quarter. The 3rd quarter has been a weak spot for the team this year, but in this game, it was their greatest strength.  

“The third quarter has been the Achilles heel in our team all year long,” Head Coach Mallory Bernhard said post game. She knew half-time was a time to rally her players. “If we want it, now is when we got to show it because this is when we have given up those leads and where they have been able to, you know, take advantage of us…it was really a let’s refocus type thing…we really went into half-time and said let’s not ride the roller coaster…let’s make sure that we come out and really, really give the intensity that we have been talking about,” Bernhard said.   

That pep talk and refocusing worked because the players came out with unrivaled intensity. However, NDSU did try to fight back, getting within striking distance. Kacie Borowicz and Juliet Gordon both fouled out in the 4th, leaving UND down two of their top players. Even though the game was getting tighter, UND still held on and secured the win.  

Mental toughness was a huge point of emphasis post-game. “That is the team we have got to be. We have said it all year long, we are undersized, we are small. We do not match up with, you know, their lineup that way as big as they are, and so we just have to be mentally and physically tough,” Bernhard said.   

“We knew that every single play mattered, and we were able to dive after loose balls. You know, we were not going to give up any 50/50 balls because we knew that you know, those are what win or lose a game…We wanted to win every single 50/50 ball, and I think you could see it out there with people diving around and DJ [DJ Davis] bleeding out, like with a bloody nose, and I think it just really was a testament to how much we wanted it,” Graduate Senior Claire Orth said on the team’s fight. Orth had a stellar performance, stepping up when Borowicz and Gordon fouled out.  

Maggie Manson called their performance against NDSU “gritty.” Another factor in UND’s success was their ability to learn from their past games versus NDSU, specifically when it came to rebounds. 

“Rebounding was a major, major focal point of this entire week, along with the transition defense. That was one of the huge things that they took advantage of us in that first game,” Bernhard said.  

The team learned from their past games and mistakes and were able to make the necessary adjustments to change the outcome. The UND women’s basketball team continues their quest to maintain a perfect home record against South Dakota State University on Thursday the 2nd at 7:00 pm and University of South Dakota at 1:00 pm on Saturday February 4th.  

 Maeve Hushman is a Dakota Student Sports Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].