First NCAA look ends in bitter loss

Women’s basketball season concludes

The UND women’s basketball team made its first ever appearance at the NCAA tournament Sunday when the Green and White (22-10) took on Texas A&M in round one.

North Dakota lost the game 55-70, but still made school history.

“We came into the season with this being our ultimate goal,” senior Madi Buck said. “At times it seemed like it would never get here, but we’ve accomplished something that’s never been done at UND. There was no pressure. We came in here as the lowest seed just excited to be here.”

Buck averaged 16 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the regular season and left everything on the court Sunday, scoring 22 points and adding in nine rebounds.

The Bismarck, N.D., native said the team enjoyed being in the company of other talented teams.

“It’s a great atmosphere and just a great experience to be among such great basketball teams,” Buck said. “It’s just an honor to even step on the floor with a team like Texas A&M.”

Travis Brewster, who completed his second year as UND head coach for the team, was also proud of his players.

“We had every intent of going out and trying to have some success today,” he said. “Today, we ran into a team that was better than us. It hasn’t happened a lot this year for us, but at the same time I’m very proud of this team and the way they played, I really am.”

UND stayed close to the Aggies in the first half of Sunday’s game, only down by two at the end of the first. The Green and White weren’t able to hang on, as Texas A&M went on multiple runs in the second to capture the win.

Sophomore Mia Loyd, who had nine points along with a block, assist and steal in Sunday’s game, said North Dakota has now been put on the map, and people have noticed the team’s ability to compete.

“People had a lot of doubts with us coming in,” Loyd said. “I think we did surprise a lot of people, and the country does know that North Dakota is out there. We did make a name for ourselves playing against Texas A&M.”

Despite the heart-breaking loss, North Dakota still boasted a first-place finish in the Big Sky Conference regular season and at the conference tournament that was hosted in Grand Forks.

UND hasn’t had a team appear in the NCAA Division I Tournament, until now. The team doubled its number of wins since last season, and although the seniors say goodbye, Brewster is excited about what the future holds.

“I have two young women sitting next to me here who have developed and that’s what we continue to do at the University of North Dakota, develop young people,” Brewster said. “Obviously for life and basketball, I think you are seeing a bright future here at the University of North Dakota, starting with our senior class and Madi Buck.”

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