GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Led by a defensive effort that allowed just 26.5 percent shooting from the league's top shooting team (by percentage), North Dakota never trailed in an impressive 71-41 rout of Northern Arizona in Big Sky Conference play Thursday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. NAU failed to hit a three-pointer (0-for-12) and the conference's leading scorer, Amanda Frost, mustered just six points in the loss.
Makailah Dyer finished with 19 points off the bench to lead UND. Madi Buck added 18 points while Leah Szabla contributed eight points, six boards, five assists and three steals.
"Our defense was something we worked on this week," UND head coach Travis Brewster said. "You saw us improve tonight, but it comes down to intensity level."
The game was never really in question after UND held the visitors without a field goal for over eight minutes midway through the opening half to build a comfortable 19-point cushion at one point. Buck had 10 quick points for UND as the hosts continued their strong play at home this season (12-1 overall). North Dakota would be content with a 16-point advantage at the break, taking a 40-24 edge into the locker room.
In the second frame, the hosts again held the Lumberjacks without a field goal for the first 9:40, allowing North Dakota to pile up a 55-26 lead with more than 10 minutes left. UND would get the chance to empty its bench in the final minutes and the UND reserves outscored the NAU bench, 30-2, for the game.
NAU would make just four field goals the entire second half, all coming from Brittani Lusain, who finished with a team-high 25 points in the contest. Banks and Frost each chipped-in six while Priscilla Brooks and Raven Anderson were the only other Lumberjacks to score (two points apiece).
Allyssa Wall, despite being held scoreless, corralled a game-high nine rebounds in just 15 minutes of work. Emily Evers contributed nine points while Mia Loyd added eight points and six rebounds.
North Dakota (17-8, 12-4) remains in first place heading into the regular season home finale Saturday. UND hosts Sacramento State for a 2:00 p.m. tip for Senior Day. North Dakota will honors its three seniors: Buck, Wall and Katie Houdek in a pre-game ceremony.
Notes: UND dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Jacks, 47-26, the fifth time UND has had a rebounding margin or 20 or greater against an opponent this season ... North Dakota had the edge in paint points, 34-10 ... NAU's 41 points were the fewest by a UND opponent this season ... It was the first time this season that UND held an opponent without a three-point make ... Montana (10-5 Big Sky) and Southern Utah (10-5) each lost road games on Thursday to give UND (12-4) a game-and-a-half cushion atop the Big Sky Conference standings with four games to play.