RENO, Nev. – Seventh-seeded Portland State pulled off the first upset of the Big Sky Women’s Basketball Tournament with a 65-62 victory over second-seeded North Dakota Wednesday in quarterfinal action at the Reno Events Center.
Senior Makailah Dyer had a potential game-tying 3-pointer rattle in and out in the closing seconds that would have forced overtime.
Dyer, who finished with 13 points, had connected on a deep triple on the previous possession to make it a two-point contest after the Vikings had led by as many as eight in the closing three minutes.
UND sophomore Lexi Klabo led all scorers with 22 points, but it was Big Sky Newcomer of the Year Ashley Bolston that paced the Vikings with 20 points and had 13 of those in the second half to lead Portland State to the semifinals.
Ashley Torres also added 14 off the bench for the Vikings and had 12 of those after the break. Bolston put the Vikings up for good at 45-44 in a game that had seen 10 lead changes up to that point. Torres followed with a 3-pointer and the Vikings stretched the lead to 59-51 before UND mounted a late rally.
Senior Leah Szabla scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half to help UND overcome 12 turnovres and be within a point of the Vikings at the break.
She knocked down four free throws early in the third quarter and UND took a 42-40 lead into the final stanza.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Vikings, however, as they outscored UND 25-20 and used a 10-0 run early on to take the lead for good.
Klabo notched her sixth double-double of the season with her game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.
North Dakota (20-10) will now await word for its postseason fate. If top-seed Montana State wins the Big Sky Tournament, UND would take the league's automatic qualifying berth in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
Notes: North Dakota is now 3-3 all-time in the Big Sky Conference Tournament ... Klabo's 22 points were three shy of her career high (Jan. 5 at Northern Arizona) ... PSU was the only league school with wins over both No. 1 Montana State and No. 2 North Dakota ... UND is eying its fourth straight postseason berth and fifth in its Division I era.
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