Women hold top spot in Big Sky

North Dakota women’s basketball team remains undefeated in conference play.

The UND women’s basketball team had a successful winter break, coming back to the spring semester as the sole undefeated force in Big Sky Conference play -— boasting an 8-1 overall record and 5-0 in the Big Sky.

The Green and White showed resiliency when they took on North Dakota State and won 88-83 after a two-point loss to the Minnesota Gophers. Four days later, UND captured another non-conference win against Mayville State with a score of 71-62 to put it 7-3 overall in the preseason.

North Dakota started its conference play on the road at Northern Colorado, where it won 63-51 to grasp the first of many Big Sky wins.

UND then brought in the new year with two consecutive victories at home, where it defeated both Southern Utah on Jan. 4 and Northern Colorado on Jan. 6. The UND women took the momentum from those wins with them on the road to capture two more victories against Idaho State and Weber State on Jan. 9 and 11, respectively.

“It feels pretty good to just have the opportunity to win two games on the road,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “I’m so proud of this group. It’s one of those things that I think people don’t understand how hard they really work, and for them to have a chance to have a road sweep for the first time ever, that’s a big deal.”

UND wasn’t the only undefeated team in the conference until last Saturday, when Sacramento State was defeated by Southern Utah, putting UND on top.

Beating Weber State

North Dakota’s most recent victory against Weber State (4-9, 0-4 Big Sky) was decisive — the scoreboard reading 83-72 at the last buzzer. Saturday’s game marked UND’s 10th win out of the last 12 games to continue the winning streak.

The last games have shown the depth of UND’s bench as multiple players contributed points, but there were a few standout players showing leadership and strength through numbers. Sophomore Mia Loyd scored a career high against the Wildcats, netting 27 points and also grabbing 12 rebounds.

“I owe it to my teammates,” Loyd said. “They did an awesome job finding open looks and getting great passes to me so the least I could do was just finish. It was an overall good game for us.”

Loyd currently is the Big Sky Conference leader in rebounds and also was named the PS Doors player of game.

Also key to the night’s victory was senior Madi Buck, who contributed 22 points and 11 boards.

“Weber State is much improved and credit to them,” Brewster said. “They did a great job attacking us. I’m so proud of this group and how hard they work, we just have to continue to get better.”

UND will suit up again Saturday and take on Montana State at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center at 2 p.m.

Marie Monson is the multimedia editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].