UND shoots two victories

North Dakota sweeps games over weekend, continues to improve season record.

Freshman guard Leah Szabla holds the ball in Thursday’s game against Eastern Washington. UND defeated the Eagles 82-61. Photo by Jennifer Friese/The Dakota Student.

The UND women’s basketball team dominated the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center this weekend, where it defeated conference favorite Eastern Washington 82-61 on Thursday evening and Portland State 69-44 on Saturday afternoon.


Both the league’s coaches and the media picked EWU (8-10, 4-5) as the preseason favorite, but North Dakota (14-6, 9-2 Big Sky) continued to prove it wrong.

Thursday’s matchup showcased UND’s depth as five players scored double figures.

After missing two games because of an injury, sophomore Mia Loyd came back full force with a game-high 16 points to set the pace. Senior Madi Buck had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Leah Szabla, Emily Evers and Allyssa Wall each added 11 points.

“It’s nice when we get one or two players going, but when we get four or five, it’s really hard to defend because you can’t double team when everyone is a scoring threat,” Wall said.

North Dakota out-rebounded its guest 52-25, which played a large role in the ladies’ ability to run the ball.

The second half saw UND keep a minimum of a 15-point lead as the Green and White consistently spread out their scoring.

“The bottom line is we shared the ball well,” UND coach Travis Brewster said.

Saturday’s game

A total of 1,567 fans packed into the Betty on Saturday to watch UND’s victory over Portland State (3-6, 5-13 Big Sky). The win put UND at 9-1 for home games this season, as North Dakota remains atop the Big Sky Conference standings.

Loyd led the team for the second game in a row with 22 points, six rebounds, a steal and an assist, while Buck had a burst of 16 points in the second half to total 18 for the day.

Emily Evers had two fast breaks in the game, the second of which gave UND a 29-point advantage on its way to its largest lead of the game with a 33-point margin. North Dakota hung on to its lead for the duration of the game to capture its third straight win.

“We just have to keep going now that we’re progressing even more as a team — we can’t stop now,” Loyd said.

The regular season is just over half done, and Brewster thinks his team is starting to hit its groove.

“The team is starting to gel a little bit, and you’re starting to understand each other’s tendencies a little bit more,” Brewster said. “I thought one thing we did this weekend in general was we got up and down the floor better … I’m fortunate that they work as hard as they do — they really do get it done.”

With the series of four home games half way done with, North Dakota looks ahead to getting two more wins next weekend.

“It’s been awesome to play at home with the crowd, and I’m so excited we have two more here next week,” Buck said.

The Green and White suit up again Thursday at the Betty against Weber State, a team that has yet to win a conference game this season. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

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