Comeback effort not enough for North Dakota

UND women’s basketball falls short last Saturday, despite strong Thursday performance

Members of the UND women’s basketball team cheer last Thursday at Betty Engelstad Sioux Center when the team defeated Portland State, 76-45. North Dakota went on to play Saturday at home, but lost to Sacramento State, 64-62. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.

Losing on its home court has become somewhat of a foreign concept for the UND women’s basketball team.

Saturday, tough, UND suffered its first home league loss. Sacramento State clinched a 64-62 victory as North Dakota’s comeback effort from a 19-point deficit wasn’t enough.

“We can’t go away from our game plan to start the game,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “We tried to reiterate what we wanted to accomplish, how we wanted to attack, how we wanted to move the basketball. We did it in the second half, but when you get yourself down 19, that’s a tough thing to come back from.”

After a 76-45 win last Thursday, Saturday’s game showed a much different result on the scoreboard.

The Hornets controlled the game for much of the first half, leaving North Dakota a large margin to close.

The Green and White closed the gap to 58-48, and managed to tally nine in a row.

Mia Loyd scored her 15th double-double this season and registered a game-high 23 points while adding 10 rebounds.

Guards Leah Szabla and Kelsey Knox also rallied and put UND in the game.

“I thought Mia Loyd did a heck of a job, kind of getting after it in the second half,” Brewster said. “But I really thought Leah Szabla changed the game. We had a ball in our hands a lot, and for a sophomore to have the ball that much, really taking control, that was great. Kind of the Batman and Robin scenario between her and Kelsey Knox — they did a great job just trying to control the game.”

That control wasn’t revealed until later, North Dakota falling short in the minutes leading up to halftime.

“When we got tired, we kind of reverted back to some old habits,” Brewster said. “We talked about it at halftime and came out and gave ourselves a chance.”

But those chances were spoiled in the final minute as Fantasia Hilliard shot a layup through traffic, the Hornets walking away with the victory.

Despite lapses, Brewster is satisfied with how the team responded.

“I thought we did a pretty good job,” Brewster said. “I thought we had a couple breakdowns here and there, but that’s part of the game … I think the team did a good job. I’m proud of how they handled themselves.”

North Dakota’s next action will take place Thursday at Northern Arizona.

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].