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Highlanders hold off Sioux in 70-63 victory
Courtesy: Christy Kramer, UND Athletic Media Relations
Release: 11/28/2008
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Senior Kierah Kimbrough scored 14 second half points to help the Sioux pull within seven of UC Riverside.
Courtesy: Kory Wallen,

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. Down by 30 points at halftime, the Fighting Sioux women’s basketball team used every bit of the remaining 20 minutes to stage a comeback against UC Riverside. North Dakota pulled within seven points of the Highlanders, but the deficit was too much to overcome. UND lost 70-63 to UCR in game one of the Northern Arizona Fairfield Inn/Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Classic at the Rolle Activity Center. 

In the first half, UCR shot 66.7 percent (20-for-30) from the field and 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from behind the three-point line, while it held the Sioux to 25 percent (7-for-28) from the field and kept them silent from behind the arc.

UND finished 24-of-63 (38.1 percent) shooting from the field, 3-for-20 (15.0 percent) from the three-point line and 12-for-18 (66.7 percent) from the bonus line. The Highlanders were 27-for-50 (54.0 percent) from the field, 7-for-12 (58.3) from behind the arc, and 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) from the free throw line.


Seniors Kierah Kimbrough (F, Greenbush, Minn.) and Danye Guinn (G, St. Francis, Minn.) topped the Sioux scoring with 21 and 17 points, respectively. Fourteen of Kimbrough’s points came in the second half, scoring 10 of those in the final 10 minutes. She added a team-high three blocks and four rebounds.


Guinn was the only Sioux to find the basket from the three-point line, where she was 3-for-7. She was also credited with six assists.


Sophomore Mallory Youngblut (G, Davenport, Iowa) scored 10 points from the bench and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. She has not missed from the bonus line since the game against Wyoming (Nov. 20).


Twenty-two of UND’s 63 points came from off of the bench.


UC Riverside was led by a trio of players with over 10 points. Kemie Nkele led both sides with 25 points, 13 in the first half. She was solid from all over shooting 9-for-15 from the field, 2-for-5 from the three-point line and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.


Seyram Gbewonyo was 3-for-4 in three-pointers to help her to 15 points and Roney Friend shot 6-for-11 from the field for 12 points.


Head coach Gene Roebuck was complementary of UC Riverside’s shooting.


“They [Highlanders] shot well in the first half,” he said. “We tried man-to-man. We tried zone. But when it comes down to it, we just need to play better defense.”


“We fought hard in the second half, but you can’t get down by 30 points and bury yourself,” Roebuck said. “Every possession is critical and we need to play it for the full 30 seconds. We weren’t able to do that.”


The Highlanders took quick control with a 19-4 run in the opening nine minutes of the game, including five points by Gbewonyo. Youngblut tabbed the first two points for UND off of the bench and Guinn dropped in an offensive rebound for the additional two points.


UC Riverside's three-point shooting guided it towards a 23-point lead with 5:56 left in the first half. Gbewonyo dropped in a pair from behind the arc and Alyssa Morris added a three to push UCR ahead 35-12.


Inside the five-minute mark, the Sioux began a brief comeback. Twice, Guinn kicked the ball to Kimbrough for the score and Youngblut netted a pair of free throws to help put the board at 37-19. UCR quickly turned the Sioux 7-2 run into something of its own. In the final 2:44, Nkele went back-to-back from the three-point line, while Gbewonyo and Schmuckal combined for six points to move into the break with the Highlanders up 49-19.


The opening five minutes of the second half showed a new fire in the Fighting Sioux as they outscored the Highlanders, 13-10. Kimbrough and Bagaason opened with a pair of baskets and Guinn dropped in UND’s first three-pointer in the game.


Trailing 59-32, North Dakota used the next 10 minutes to cut the lead down to 13 with a 22-6 run, highlighted by five consecutive jump shots by Kimbrough.


The renewed Sioux energy seemed to be more than UC Riverside could handle, as they were unable to take it to the hole as they did in the first 20 minutes. After scoring 21 points off of three-pointers in the first half, UCR was scoreless from behind the arc in the second half and was held to 35 percent shooting (7-for-20) from the field.


The second half was a complete opposite of the first half as the Fighting Sioux won the battle, 44-21, but was just eight points shy of the victory.


North Dakota returns to the court Saturday when it takes on host Northern Arizona. Tipoff between the Fighting Sioux and the Lumberjacks is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. Live stats will be available on with a live audio/video webcast on


- Go Sioux -


Game notes: This was Seay’s first start since the final game last season versus Wayne State ... This is the first collegiate start for Privratsky ... This was Lof’s first collegiate start ... The last time UND was 1-4 overall to start the season was 1981-82 ... The last time UND was 0-4 on the road was 1981-82.


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