UND wins home opener

Green and White secure victory 65-61 over USD in first regular season game.

UND freshman Leah Szabla dribbles the ball Sunday afternoon at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Photo by Keisuke Yoshimura/The Dakota Student.

In its first regular season game of the year, the UND women’s basketball team defeated the University of South Dakota 65-61 Sunday afternoon at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

“It was a great win for us, especially with it being our home opener,” freshman guard Leah Szabla said. “It was great getting our crowd really into it, and it starts off the season on a positive note.”

Initially, USD took the momentum of the game, as UND struggled to find the net. A string of missed shots allowed South Dakota to get a substantial lead early on in the game.

With seven minutes left in the first half, UND was able to bring the score within a one-point margin. The run that got it back into the contest started with a triple from Madi Buck with Mia Loyd and Allyssa Wall adding jumpers before Buck book-ended the stretch with a drive for a 16-15 Coyote advantage.

The lead was short lived as USD pulled away once again. Going into halftime, the Green and White trailed the Coyotes 31-22.

After the break, UND immediately went to work on whittling down the deficit. The team turned to its defense to make the difference.

UND’s shots started to fall and allowed just three baskets from distance and a .28  shooting percentage for the visitors. North Dakota erased a 12-point deficit and claimed its first win of the season.

UND senior Katie Houdek hit a three that gave North Dakota its first lead of the game, 40-39. From then on, the two teams battled for the lead until the final whistle blew.

USD’s fouls in the final minutes hurt its chances as UND pulled ahead to win the game 65-61.

Loyd contributed 17 points with Megan Lauck adding 11 points for UND. Wall collected 10 points, eight rebounds and five blocks; while Leah Szabla chipped in five points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists in North Dakota’s win.

UND coach Travis Brewster said there is still room for the team to improve.

“Defensive is what we mainly need, it was what we were lacking for a while today,” Brewster said. “And free throws, get those back up where they need to be.”

UND remains at home and will face Jamestown College on Tuesday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Allison Moore is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].