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UND opens Big Sky play Thursday at home to end a four-game homestand
Game notes: UND opens Big Sky play Thursday
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Updated: Wednesday 12/19/2012 17:45:53 (ET)
by Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
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E: Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 | 7:00 p.m. CT
SITE: Grand Forks, N.D. | Betty Engelstad Sioux Center

DATE: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 | 3:00 p.m. CT
SITE: Greeley, Colo. | Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion

Overall: UND leads, 1-0
Streak: UND- W1
Last: at UND 62, SUU 61 (11/5/11 at NMSU)
*Last year’s game was the first game in a two-game Thanksgiving Holiday Classic at New Mexico State University.
*UND overcame a 10-2 deficit to start en route to victory.

Overall: UND leads, 31-2
Streak: UND- W9
Last: at UND 76, UNC 57 (3/4/03)
*Series began in 1981
*Teams are former NCC foes
*Only two UNC wins have come in Greeley
*Last UNC win was a 67-66 win on 1/2/00.

North Dakota opens Big Sky Conference play this week, winners of four straight to get back to the .500 mark. UND will entertain fellow Big Sky rookie Southern Utah on Thursday before making a quick turnaround to Northern Colorado for a showdown with its former North Central Conference rival Saturday afternoon.

UND turned Jamestown over 29 times and overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Jimmies, 64-49 for its fourth straight win Dec. 15. Emily Evers led UND with 13 points, part of four UND players in double figures.

Southern Utah brings the top-scoring offense in the Big Sky Conference into the league opener Thursday ... The Thunderbirds average 72.0 points per game, thanks in part to a conference-best 37.8 three-point percentage ... SUU also boasts the top rebounding squad in the Big Sky in terms of rebounding margin, outhustling opponents to the glass at a +8.5 clip per contest ... Hailey Mandelko is their leading scorer, producing 14.7 points per contest, fourth-best average in the BSC ... Kimie Hawkins hauls down 8.3 rebounds per game to rank sixth in the league.

Nicole Smart scored a team-high 12 points, part of three UND players in double figures as North Dakota held off Southern Utah, 62-61 in the opening game of a Thanksgiving tournament at New Mexico State. UND overcame a 10-2 deficit from the start to score 16 straight points and led by six with under two minutes to go. Kimie Hawkins missed on the second of two free throws that would have tied it with 1:10 left and following an SUU offensive rebound, UND hung tough for the win.

Northern Colorado will be opening its Big Sky Conference schedule in Saturday’s tip ... UNC’s last action came Sunday, Dec. 16 in a 68-41 loss at Texas Tech ... D’shara Strange leads the Bears with a 14.5 points per game average ... Strange takes nearly twice as many shots as any other teammate, putting up 15 field goal attempts on average ... Both of UNC’s wins have come against teams that UND has also beaten this season (Air Force, North Dakota State) ... UNC has failed to score 50 points five times this season, all losses.

The last meeting between the schools came in the 2002-03 season, UNC’s final season in NCAA Division II. UND claimed a 76-57 win at the Hyslop Sports Center on March 4, 2003 to give it nine straight wins over the Bears. UND won 16 straight games over Northern Colorado to start the series before a two-point loss in Greeley in 1997 (the first of UND’s three national championship teams in D-II).

Following Thursday’s Big Sky opener, UND will play six of its next eight games on the road. After a pre-Christmas trip to Northern Colorado, North Dakota closes its non-conference slate with a trek to the University of Utah a week later.  The Big Sky schedule continues in earnest Jan. 3 when UND hosts Idaho State.

FOUR LOSSES (as of Dec. 19)
UND’s four losses this season have all come to teams off to great starts and in the top 86 in RPI in NCAA Division I. Three of those four teams have just one loss on the season and are within the top 61. North Dakota’s final non-conference game, Dec. 29 at Utah, also features a one-loss team (8-1, 79 RPI). A look at the records of UND’s losses and their RPI (according to as of Dec. 19.

Record RPI
Harvard 7-3 86
Iowa State 7-1 31
Duquesne  9-1 47
South Florida  8-1 61
  31-6 (.838) 56 (avg. RPI)

With Emily Evers in the starting lineup, North Dakota is 3-1 this season. In her four starts, Evers is averaging 12.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per contest. Her 17 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Air Force Dec. 4 each marked new career bests. For the season, Evers tops the team in blocks (17), is second in rebounding (5.6 rpg) and third in scoring (8.4 ppg).

Freshman Mia Loyd had an un-apologetic 5-point, 7-rebound game in the win over Jamestown Saturday. Both totals were careers bests for the rookie from Minneapolis, Minn. Her seven boards were a team-high in the win. She did her damage thanks to a career-most 16 minutes in  the win Saturday. For the season, Loyd averages 1.1 ppg and 2.5 rpg.

It’s simple to surmise that when your offense scores at a higher rate, then you win more games. So it can be said that when one of your top perimeter threats gets hot, it translates to more wins. Case in point, senior Nicole Smart. In UND’s four-game winning streak, she’s scored at least 10 points in every game and is 9-for-17 from distance in that stretch.

North Dakota hopes to get Katie Houdek back in the lineup soon after missing three games due to injury. The junior has been practicing and would help strengthen a depleted lineup that has seen missed time from both Houdek (3 games) and Allyssa Wall (5 games).

With UND’s win Saturday over Jamestown,  this season has a very similar feel to last year. Both teams lost their opener and would have both four-game winning and losing streaks in their first nine games. Last season’s team went 15-3 in the 2012 calendar year and had a 12-game win streak to end the regular season and GWC tourney..

Sophomore center Emily Evers was named co-Big Sky Conference Player of the Week Dec. 10. Evers broke out in the win over Air Force last Tuesday by establishing new career bests with 17 points and 15 rebounds in the blowout victory over the Falcons. She also added two assists and a pair of blocks in just 14 minutes of action. She followed that performance with another 17-point effort in Saturday’s overtime win against Drake. She notched yet another double-double-- her third of her career-- with 10 rebounds as well. Evers chipped-in four blocks and two steals and sealed the win in the final second of overtime with a free throw make.

Senior Nicole Smart had some defining moments of clutch in the overtime win over Drake Saturday. In the final possession of regulation, Smart blocked a shot to send the game to an extra frame then nailed a triple with under 10 seconds left in overtime to seal it. Smart leads North Dakota with 12 three-pointers this season, eight of those coming in this three-game UND win streak.

Before its Dec. 8 win over Drake, North Dakota had not played in an overtime contest since a 81-79 win at South Dakota back on Jan. 13, 2007. With the win over the Bulldogs, UND extended its overtime winning streak to three straight with its last loss in an overtime game a Mar. 15, 2004 defeat in the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Final against South Dakota State (72-70). All time, UND is now 14-9 in games decided in extra frames, including a perfect 3-0 mark when it goes beyond one extra period.

The University of North Dakota women’s basketball team picked up the Great West Conference regular-season and postseason tournament titles, winning nine straight games to finish 9-1 in league play ... Center Allyssa Wall (North Sioux City, S.D.) was named to the GWC All-Tournament team and was voted the tournament’s most valuable player ... Also named to the all-tournament team was center Emily Evers (Grand Forks, N.D.), who averaged a team-high 13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and shot 74.4 percent from the field ... UND advanced to its first-ever NCAA Division I postseason play, heading to Seattle University for the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).

The University of North Dakota women’s basketball program holds an 808-313 (.721) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974.

The season-opening loss to Harvard pushed UND’s record in season openers to 29-8 all-time. North Dakota is now 19-5 in season openers at home, including losses each of the past two seasons.

The home opener is the start of a very challenging part of UND’s schedule. Each of the first four opponents qualified for a postseason tournament a season ago. In addition, only one of those games is at home for UND (vs. Harvard). Iowa State went to the NCAA Tournament while Harvard, Duquesne and South Florida all competed in the WNIT.

All-time, North Dakota is 440-88 (.833) when it comes to defending its own court. The team played at the  UND Fieldhouse/Hyslop Sports Center before moving into its current home at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in 2004-05.

North Dakota is 106-19 (.848) all-time at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, which opened prior to the 2004-05 season.

Season records at ‘The Betty’
2004-05 -------------------- 13-2
2005-06 -------------------- 19-1
2006-07 -------------------- 17-2
2007-08 -------------------- 14-1
2008-09 -------------------- 13-0
2009-10 -------------------- 8-4
2010-11 -------------------- 9-5
2011-12 -------------------- 10-3
2012-13 -------------------- 3-1

UND was picked to finish fifth by the media and sixth by the coaches in the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference preseason polls. After three seasons in the Great West Conference following its move to NCAA Division I, UND enters its first season in the league.

The top four spots were identical in both polls with Idaho State, the defending Big Sky regular season and tournament champion, grabbing the top position. Northern Colorado was the runner-up with Montana and Montana State slotted third and fourth, respectively, in both polls.

2012-13 SCHEDULE
This year’s slate includes 16 total home games (two exhibitions),10 games against postseason teams (NCAA- Idaho State (2), Iowa State;  WNIT- No. Colorado (2), Drake, Duquesne, Harvard, South Florida, Utah), a re-kindling of the North Dakota State rivalry and the inaugural season of the Big Sky Conference. UND will play each Big Sky foe twice in home-and-home contests to make up 20 of North Dakota’s games this season.

Catch all home games and all conference road games live for FREE on the internet, thanks to Big Sky TV. The free video webstream is available by logging onto and clicking on the Big Sky TV button.

Take North Dakota women’s basketball with you wherever you go with KSNR 100.3 FM (CatCountry) on the iheartradio app. Download it to your computer or your smart phone.

UND ON THE INTERNET is the official online home of University of North Dakota athletics. is a veritable one-stop shop for the most hardcore fan, featuring breaking news, feature stories, game notes, live and archived video webcasts, FREE audio, FREE live stats, podcasts, blogs, player profiles, merchandise, photo galleries, news feeds, camp registration and much, much more.

Select North Dakota women’s basketball games — home and away — can be heard live on CatCountry 100.3 FM with Mitch Wigness handling the play-by-play ... The radio broadcast can also be accessed via a live audiocast on (Check the website for schedule changes and updates) ... Links for live stats, a live radio audiocast, live chat, and streaming video can be found on the official site of North Dakota athletics,

The University of North Dakota athletics department and leading technology service provider NeuLion, Inc. (TSX: NLN) have launched UND’s official athletics mobile website, The new UND athletics destination offers a mobile device-enabled version of the site, amplifying the user experience on the go. The mobile website will deliver a condensed version of the official athletics site to provide latest news and quick updates to handheld devices. North Dakota’s official athletics website is available on all web-enabled devices by opening a browser and entering the URL. Users can get the latest news, scores, upcoming schedule, photo galleries and more.

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