North Dakota dominates paint in win over PSU
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- UND got contributions from virtually its entire roster and only turned the ball over a season-low nine times in recording an impressive 71-50 win over Portland State Saturday afternoon at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Big Sky Conference play. North Dakota shot 50 percent from the floor and dominated down low, outscoring the Vikings 30-6 in the paint.
UND, despite playing without starting center Emily Evers due to injury, fed its offense through the post and piled-up a 25-9 advantage midway through the first half. That lead would reach 21 in the first frame with UND gaining the edge in nearly every statistical category in the opening period.
North Dakota (11-16, 6-12 Big Sky) would take a 14-point cushion into the break at halftime after shooting 48.5 percent (16-of-33) with just two turnovers while holding Portland State (11-15, 5-12) to just 18.2 percent shooting from the floor (6-of-33). The UND defense held the Big Sky's second-leading scorer, Courtney VanBrocklin, without a field goal and with only four points in the opening half.
Back-to-back threes from Emily Easom and VanBrocklin trimmed the home team's lead to nine but UND let it get no closer. With the score 46-36, Madi Buck drove the lane and scored to spark an quick 8-0 spurt that kept the score at a comfortable distance.
Carly Rothfusz, Allyssa Wall and Cy'erra Mills each added layups in consecutive trips in that run to force a timeout as UND regained the momentum. Mills' bucket was started on a steal by Rothfusz, who then threw a perfect outlet pass to a streaking Mills headed the other way. 22 of UND's 33 points came in the paint in the second stanza.
North Dakota snapped a four-game losing skid with the win and handed the Vikings their fourth-straight setback. More importantly, UND kept alive its postseason hopes, trailing Southern Utah by two games with two to play.
UND had six different players with at least eight points led by 10 apiece from Katie Houdek and Megan Lauck. Wall, Buck and Siri Burck each added nine while Loyd had eight in a balanced scoring attack.
UND will host Eastern Washington in its home finale next Saturday. The game time has been pushed up to noon Central with the WCHA women' s hockey playoffs at the Ralph Engelstad Arena next weekend.
Notes: North Dakota's nine turnovers were a season low and the team is now 5-0 when it registers 15 or fewer turnovers this year ... UND's 21 assists were also a season high ... Three of UND's six Big Sky wins have come by 20+ points ... Burck tied her career high with her nine points Saturday ... Rothfusz had six assists, a new career best.