CHENEY, Wash.-- The University of North Dakota held a fourth-quarter double-digit lead but a 12-0 Eastern Washington run helped give the host Eagles a 60-57 win Saturday afternoon in Big Sky Conference action. UND held league-leading scorer Hayley Hodgins (19.8 ppg) to just 5-20 shooting but her sister Delaney Hodgins recorded game highs with 21 points and 14 rebounds in the win.
"I thought Fallyn Freije had a heck of a game. We shortened our lineup due to disciplinary reasons and she stepped up along with Stephanie Smith. Proud of what our newcomers gave us," UND head coach Travis Brewster said. "It's heart-breaking but at the same time I'm really proud of how this group played. The 16 assists is very encouraging, we just have to get the turnovers down and eliminate the offensive boards."
UND (4-9, 0-2 Big Sky) was playing without starters senior Mia Loyd and junior Leah Szabla, both serving one-game suspensions for violating team rules. In their stead, Ellie Ripplinger and Jill Morton made their first career starts while Freije filled-in the scoring load with a career-best 15 points off the bench. Junior Stephanie Smith was dominant down low, scoring a career-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting while ading eight rebounds in the loss.
The visitors were the aggressors early, piling up a 10-point lead in the first quarter before heading to the locker room at the half with a 30-22 advantage. The sister duo of Hailey and Delaney Hodgins combine to average more than 35 points per game, but North Dakota allowed just 11 to the pair combined (on 5-of-21 shooting) in the opening half.
The lead grew to as many as a dozen in the second half, but EWU (8-6, 2-0) rallied in the closing minutes to take its first lead. Freije had one of her three triples to make it a 52-42 score with just under eight minutes to go. From there, however, the Eagles rattled off 12 straight points, keeping UND without a field goal for over a seven-minute span.
Delaney Hodgins made it a three-point EWU lead with 1:32 to go, but Kelsey Knox hit a free throw then Freije nailed a huge three with a minute to go to reclaim a brief UND lead. Delany Hodgins would answer with a jumper on the other end and the Eagles held on with a few free throw makes. UND had one final chance as Makailah Dyer's desparation off-balanced, contested three was off the mark from the right wing.
North Dakota hosts Weber State Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center for a 7:00 p.m. tip.
Notes: Samantha Roscoe finished with a career-high five assists as UND had helpers on 16 of 21 made field goals ... Smith set career highs with eight field goal makes on 10 attempts ... UND had its first halftime lead on the road this season (30-22) ... North Dakota hit 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.