Road trip leads back home

North Dakota women return to Betty Engelstad Sioux Center this weekend.

The women’s basketball team split on its road trip, losing 110-104 against Sacramento State last Thursday before bouncing back to defeat Northern Arizona 91-83.

Saturday’s game saw senior Madi Buck net 25 points to push her over the 1,000 career-point mark.

A tough start

Thursday’s game at Sacramento State (13-4, 5-3 BSC) was dominated by offense. The home team’s 110 points were the most given up by a UND team in school history and the 214 combined points broke the Big Sky single-game record.

“That’s the way they play,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “The numbers can be a bit deceiving just because of the style of basketball they play. We slowed the tempo and played the game we wanted to in the first half, but in the second half they cranked it back up and got us out of sorts a bit.”

Sophomore transfer Makailah Dyer had a career-high 29 points in the game, followed by Buck, who contributed 22 to put her just eight shy of 1,000.

The Green and White were out-scored in the second half — despite shooting 63 percent — to give them their second loss in a row and move them to second in Big Sky Conference standings.

Back to the top

Saturday’s game was a different story as North Dakota took back the reigns of the Big Sky in its defeat of Northern Arizona.

“We didn’t let that Sacramento State game linger too much,” Brewster said. “We learned from it and moved on.”

Once again, Buck and Dyer led UND in points with 25 and 23, respectively. Buck shot past the 1,000 threshold for a total of 1,017 collegiate career points. The senior’s 1,000th came on a 3-pointer from the left wing in the first half, and she continued on to add two blocks and 12 rebounds for another double-double.

It wasn’t just a two-person effort that got North Dakota back on top of its conference, though. Kelsey Knox contributed 14 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Leah Szabla added 12 points to the scoreboard.

UND (12-6, 7-2 Big Sky) was efficient beyond the arc as it sunk a season-high 10 three-pointers in its win over the Lumberjacks (5-12, 2-6 Big Sky), four of which came from Dyer.

“I’m proud of this team’s togetherness and effort,” Brewster said. “Our team plays together, and we’ve got some things figured out. There’s plenty to improve upon, but it was a heck of a game.”

Both halves of the game were well contested by the two teams, but North Dakota recovered from a six-point deficit and went into the break with a 44-40 edge thanks to junior Siri Burck’s buzzer-beating triple.

A combination of sharper shooting from UND and less accuracy from host NAU provided North Dakota with a 10-point lead eight minutes in, which it held onto to win its fourth of five Big Sky Conference road games.

UND has its second of four straight home games Saturday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, where it will take on Portland State at 2 p.m. Portland State (5-12, 3-5 BSC) is ranked ninth in the conference, and holds a 1-6 record with away games so far.

Despite the home court advantage, North Dakota keeps focused.

“We want to take care of business at home, one game at a time, 20 minutes at a time,” Brewster said.

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