UND Women’s Basketball Team Defeats Kansas City in Final Home Game

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

The University of North Dakota’s Women’s basketball team honored their seniors in their final home game of the season. Before the game started, each senior was announced and acknowledged for their contribution through the years. Claire Orth, Joli Daninger, Tara Bieniewicz, and Juliet Gordon stood with their families before they took the court to play one last game in the Betty Engelstad Arena. The seniors were honored in their ceremony but also by the team, which made sure their last memories in the Betty would be ones of victory. The UND women’s basketball team defeated Kansas City 61-39 Saturday afternoon in their final home game of the season.  

This game was a huge departure from the 208-point victory over Oral Roberts on Thursday night, with players and coach describing it as ugly or messy. However, even in a so-called ugly or messy game, UND still prevailed, grabbing one more home win to add to their near perfect record and send off their seniors right.  

“If Thursday was an offensive explosion defense optional, today was vastly different, where offense was really hard to find and get going, but defense was the only option really,” Head Coach Mallory Bernhard said on the low scoring game. 

While offense may have been limited in this game, so much of that limited offense came from honored senior Orth, who in her final home game at UND broke the record for most games played at 136 games. Orth had 16 points and led the team in scoring this game.  

When it came to what Orth had brought to the team, Coach Bernhard said, “she just steady, and it’s both ends…she’s someone that throughout her career has been tasked with defending the other team’s top player, whether that’s a point guard or a power forward, we kind of stick her in that position, but you’ve seen her offense really start to come along too.”  

“It’s hard to put into words,” Orth replied when asked about what her setting that record meant to her. “I’ve had the most incredible time playing here. I couldn’t be more thankful for my time here, it’s been amazing,” she said.   

Bieniewicz also left on a high note, after struggling most of the beginning of the season with injury, she was able to pot two three pointers in the 4th quarter, “it was great,” she said. “It’s just the people around me make it so much better. Like Coach Mal [Bernhard] left me in, she was like ‘I want you to hit one more three’ so I looked at her and said, ‘all right, let’s do this,”  

Even though the veteran leadership and big contributions of Gordon, Daninger, Orth, and Bieniewicz will be missed next season, there is a bright future ahead. This UND team looks to finish the highest they have ever finished in the Summit League standings and with so many freshmen beginning to step up and do their part.  

Orth said about the future of the team, “when you’re a part of any sports program, you want to leave it better than you got it. All of us seniors are very happy with the hands that it’s in and it’s been awesome to see them [the first-year students] and step into their roles.”  

Even though Saturday was these seniors’ last home game, it was not the end of their season. The Women’s Basketball team completes their regular season on the road facing Western Illinois and St. Thomas on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon, respectively. After that, it is off to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the Summit League Tournament where hopefully UND can make some waves.  


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