GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Host North Dakota stayed in first place in the Big Sky Conference with a 63-56 win over Idaho State Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Senior Makailah Dyer had her 17th career 20-point night with a team-high 21 in the win for UND.
UND (17-8, 12-2) used a third-quarter surge to move ahead and stayed in the driver's seat the rest of the way. ISU (14-10, 8-5) had its five-game winning streak snapped in the loss as Estephania Ors' 22 points off the bench weren't enough.
These teams have held epic defensive battles in their 11-game history over the five years in the Big Sky and tonight looked like it might have a different feel. UND's first nine points came from distance with threes from Bailey Strand, Samantha Roscoe and Lexi Klabo. It would be 13-all after the first quarter and the teams settled in to their usual script of a battle for boards and plays around the rim.
Idaho State ran off a quick 8-0 run that spanned the end of the first and the start of the second frame as the Bengals moved ahead, 18-13. The lead changed hands acouple different times heading into the break, but UND's final field goal would come at the 3:21 mark as ISU held on to a 31-29 advantage heading into the locker room.
Following a Bengal three to open the third quarter, UND embarked on a 9-0 run capped by a Grace Sawatzke triple for a 38-34 edge. The Fighting Hawks' defense stiffened in that frame as Klabo collected all four of her blocks in a four-minute stretch in that period.
The UND lead was just two, however, entering the final stanza as ISU never went away quietly. Roscoe hit back-to-back jumpers from the left baseline for make it a six-point with 6:20 to go. That would be the final UND field goal as the Fighting Hawks had to keep the Bengals at bay with a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
Three players scored in double figures with Klabo and Roscoe each contributing 10. North Dakota out-rebounded the Bengals for the game, 40-32, including 26-15 in the second half.
North Dakota will play the middle game of its final homestand Saturday when the Fighting Hawks host Weber State at 2:00 p.m.
Notes: UND has now out-shot its opponent from distance in each of the past seven games (by percentage) ... Northern Colorado won Thursday to remain tied atop the league standings at 12-2 (Montana State lost at Portland State Thursday to fall to 11-3) ... North Dakota tied a season-low with just 11 turnovers ... Klabo's four blocks tied a career best ... UND is 8-3 all-time against Idaho State.