FARGO, N.D.-- Led by a career-high-tying 21 points from junior Madi Buck, North Dakota secured a 73-63 win over in-state arch-rival North Dakota State Friday night at the Bison Sports Arena. Buck nailed a triple for UND's first points and the visitors never looked back, taking a large lead in the opening minutes en route to the win.
UND (1-4) stepped on the gas early and never relented, piling up a 10-2 advantage before the first media timeout. It was mostly the doing of Buck, who had eight of those UND points as the road team quickly quieted the BSA crowd. The lead grew to as many as 18 when senior Nicole Smart tripled for a 27-9 cushion nearly 12 and a half minutes into the contest.
North Dakota used a hot-shooting start to get out to the early lead and made it hold up, playing solid defense in key stretches and getting big buckets from its leaders when NDSU (3-4) tried to mount a comeback.
After leading by nine at halftime, UND re-opened a 16-point advantage, the final three in that stretch on a conventional three-point play from Buck for a 59-43 score with 7:18 to go. The Bison never gave up and eventually got that deficit down to a manageable six points with 4:30 to play.
But, Buck was there for the stopper, scoring on a layup on the next possession to end the NDSU 10-0 run. UND had to fend-off one last Bison rally after Katie Birkel's off-balance three from the right wing got it back to a half-dozen with 1:25 remaining. North Dakota would salt the game away from the free throw line, however, to earn head coach Travis Brewster his first career victory.
Buck was one of three UND players in double digits with Smart adding a dozen and 10 more from junior Megan Lauck. NDSU (3-4) got 18 points apiece from Katie Birkel and Hannah Linz.
UND (1-4) returns home to begin a four-game homestand this Tuesday when it welcome Air Force to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Tip is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Notes: North Dakota improved to 41-32 overall in the all-time series between the two schools ... UND has won each of the last three meetings, including the last two at the BSA ... Buck added 13 rebounds for her eight career double-double ... Allyssa Wall returned to the UND lineup for the first time this season, scoring six points in 10 points off the bench ... This was the first meeting since the schools transitioned to NCAA Division I status.