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UND aims to clinch share of league title Saturday
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Updated: Sunday 02/28/2014 02:48:59 (ET)
by Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
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North Dakota (19-8, 14-4) at Eastern Washington (15-11, 11-6)
DATE: Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. CT
SITE: Cheney, Wash.
TWITTER: @UNDWBasketball

North Dakota can clinch a share of the Big Sky Conference's regular season title with a win at Eastern Washington Saturday. UND leads Southern Utah by a game and a half and a win in either of its next two games or a SUU loss gives North Dakota a piece of the regular season title.

UND heads into Saturday with a 1.5-game lead with two games to go, but four teams are all still vying for top seed. Here are the scenarios for tiebreakers in the Big Sky:
*Head-to-head (vs. UM 1-1, SUU 1-0, EWU 1-0)
*Record against next best team
*Tie between three or more teams is settled by record amongst the teams tied.

*UND turned the ball over just eight times in Thursday's win at Portland State, a season low.
*UND's previous low for turnovers were in wins over North Dakota State and Portland State (10).
*North Dakota has combined to shoot 51.2 percent in its last three games, all convincing wins (88-of-172).
*Five of UND's last seven wins have come by 20 points or more.
*UND is 5-1 this season when it commits fewer turnovers than its opponent.
*North Dakota is one win shy of securing just its second 20-win campaign in its Division I era (21-11 in 2011-12).

The Eagles, picked to finish atop the Big Sky Conference in the preseason, have come on of late winning seven of their last eight games ... EWU is tough in its home gym, going 12-2 overall and 8-1 in league play ... The Eagles are the top three-point shooting team in the conference (by percentage), making 37.9 percent of its shots from beyond the arc ... Lexie Nelson pours in 16.6 points per game, third best in the conference ... Haley Hodgins (ninth) is also in the top ten with her 13.8 scoring average ...  Nelson has scorched the nets for 44.4 percent from deep this season (64-144), leading the league in both 3FG makes and percentage.

EWU leads the all-time series 2-1. UND dominated the Eagles, 82-60 earlier this season (Jan. 30). The Eagles won both games last year, escaping with a 75-72 win in Cheney, Wash. on Jan. 17 and taking a 67-58 decision on Mar. 2 in Grand Forks.

A balanced scoring attack that saw five different North Dakota players score in double figures led host UND to an 82-60 win over Eastern Washington Jan. 30 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Big Sky Conference play. Sophomore Mia Loyd led the way with 16 points in her first game back after a two-game absence due to injury. Senior Madi Buck had 15 points and 11 rebounds while Leah Szabla, Emily Evers and Allyssa Wall each contributed 11 points in the win.

North Dakota turned 16 Portland State turnovers into 25 points in Thursday's win. Conversely, PSU over generated eight turnovers and failed to score off those miscues.

UND has won its last three games by an average of 27 points. After 30-point wins last Thursday and Saturday, North Dakota defeated PSU by 21 last night.

North Dakota turned the trick twice last week, defeating both opponents by 30 points. UND bested NAU, 71-41 Thursday before a Saturday beatdown of Sacramento State, 87-57. Since Jan. 30, five of UND’s wins have come by 20 points or more, including these blowouts.
Senior Madi Buck scored 20 points in the win over Sacramento State on Saturday giving her a team-high seven 20-point games this season.  Mia Loyd has five and Makailah Dyer has three 20-point games as well.

Madi Buck won her second Big Sky Player of the Week honor, becoming the third player with multiple honors this season (Alle Moreno and Kellie Cole each have three). Buck averages 19 points per game in a pair of blowout wins to put UND up a game and a half with just three games to play.

UND’s win over Sacramento State on Feb. 22 was its 100th in its Division I era. North Dakota has enjoyed four winning seasons (including this year) and this season’s 18 wins are already tied for second-most in the D-I era (21).

Thursday, Northern Arizona failed to make a three-point field goal in its 71-41 loss to UND.  (0-for-12).

Saturday, UND did not even attempt a three-pointer in its impressive 87-57 win over Sacramento State.

Madi Buck (8) and Mia Loyd (7) are one-two in the Big Sky Conference in double-doubles this season. The duo is tied for the league lead in number of double-digit rebound games (9). Emily Evers (2) and Allyssa Wall (1) have each recorded a double-double this season as well.

North Dakota allowed just 13 first-half points to Portland State in a Feb. 1 win in Grand Forks. It marked the lowest point total for a UND opponent in a half since Mayville State scored just 11 in a half on Dec. 17, 2008.

Five different current UND players have now reached the 20-point plateau in a game in their career with four reaching at least 29. A look at the top scoring games for each player.

Madi Buck    37    vs. NDSU (12/14/13)
Megan Lauck    36    at SUU (3/9/13)
Makailah Dyer    29    at Sac State (1/23/14)
Allyssa Wall    29    vs. Houston Bapt. (2/2/12)
Mia Loyd    27    at Weber State (1/11/14)

Madi Buck became the 29th UND player to eclipse 1,000 career points in a Jan. 25 win at Northern Arizona. She hit a three from the left wing in the first half to catapult her into quadruple digits. After Thursday, she has 1,158 points and would need to score 149 points in the final two regular season games and postseason to move in to 15th place at the school (Mallory Youngblut- 1,307).

Senior Allyssa Wall is the next closest UND player to 1,000 in her career with 893 entering the week. When she scores in double figures this season, UND is a perfect 7-0.

UND owns two five-game winning streaks this season. North Dakota rattled off five straight wins from Jan. 2 to Jan. 16 and again from Jan. 25 to Feb. 8 with Montana State proving to be the spoiler both times.

Sophomore Makailah Dyer started the season on a rough note from the free throw line, missing six of her first eight attempts (.250). Since then, however, she has gone 52-for-64 (.813).

With eight votes (33rd) in the CollegeInsider. com Mid-Major poll, UND sees itself receiving votes for the seventh straight week. North Dakota opponents Northern Iowa (29th), Southern Utah (37th) and Sacramento State (39th) and also appear in the poll.

North Dakota checks in at 100 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, released Monday. That mark is the highest in the Big Sky Conference. Three UND opponents appear in the top 40 in the rankings this week:

School    RPI
Iowa    24
Minnesota    37
Iowa State    40
North Dakota    100
North Dakota swept its first Big Sky Conference road trip with wins over Idaho State and Weber State on Jan. 9 and 11, respectively. UND is now 6-7 on the road this season, already surpassing last season’s win total in away contests.

North Dakota secured its 300th program road win Jan. 25 at Northern Arizona. In its 39 seasons, UND owns a 301-182 (.622) mark in true road contests, including a 6-7 record this season.

North Dakota crashes the boards better than its opponents, a +11.3 margin. That rate tops the Big Sky Conference and is 6th in the NCAA. UND averages 44.5 rebounds per game (1st in Big Sky), but also allows just 33.2 (1st) to its opponent on average.

Since Kelsey Knox has been inserted into the starting lineup, North Dakota is 16-5. She’s played both the point and two-guard positions and has posted 81 assists to just 51 turnovers in her starts and has added 21 steals.

Sophomore Mia Loyd was named the Big Sky Conference’s Player of the Week Dec. 23 for her efforts in career-setting games. She corralled 22 rebounds in a win over Mayville State and countered with 20 points in the win at Northern Colorado. For the week, she averaged 19.5 points and 18 boards.

Senior Allyssa Wall swatted away five shots in the win over South Dakota, Nov. 17, a season best. That mark is one that she has hit six times in her four seasons at UND. For her career, Wall has 178 rejections, passing Sheri Kleinsasser for fourth-most at the school. She needs just nine more to lay claim to second place in program history (since 1982). Emily Evers has moved into seventh place on the list with 121 career rejections in her junior campaign.

Career blocks
1. Jenny Crouse    494
2. Sandi Walford    187
3. Kierah Kimbrough    181
4. Allyssa Wall    179
5. Sheri Kleinsasser    175
6. Nadine VanDerKerckhove    152
7. Emily Evers     121

UND corralled 60 rebounds in the win over Mayville State, Dec. 18. That total is the most for North Dakota in the Division I era for the school. UND also out-rebounded the Comets by 30, also the largest rebounding margin since North Dakota transitioned in 2008-09.

Sophomore forward Mia Loyd has already quadrupled her production from last year from distance, making 4-of-13 from three this season. Last year, her only make was in the season finale at Southern Utah, a huge hit that helped UND erase a 21-point deficit to send the game to overtime.

UND has gotten the best of the Summit League, winning all four of its contests over the league in the past three seasons. In 2011-12, North Dakota defeated then-Summit member Southern Utah. Last season, UND bested North Dakota State and this year UND has picked up wins over South Dakota and North Dakota State.

22 FOR 2
Sophomore forward Mia Loyd gathered a whopping 22 rebounds in the win over Mayville State, Dec. 18. She had already tied her career high in the first half with 13 rebounds before halftime. Here are some notes from that performance:
*22 rebounds tied for second-most by a UND player in a single game.
*She out-rebounded Mayville State in the first half (13-12).
*22 boards most-ever by a UND player at home.
*That total is tied for fourth-most by a DI player this season (as of Dec. 20).

Senior Madi Buck enjoyed a game for the ages in the win over the Bison Dec. 14. She poured in 37 points and added nine rebounds, three steals, three assists and a block to help UND rally from down seven in the final minutes. Some notes from that win:
*Buck was named the Big Sky Conference co-Player of the Week.
*Her 37 points were tied for seventh-most in UND history.
*Those 37 are the most by a Big Sky player this season to date.
*It was the most points by a UND player since Becky Moen scored 37 vs. Minnesota Crookston on Dec. 20, 2002.
*She racked up 26 of her point total in the second half.
*In the final 2:05 of the game (final four UND possessions), Buck tallied eight points, a rebound and a steal.

The University of North Dakota women’s basketball team became the first program at UND to defeat a PAC-12 team with a 62-56 win at Utah on Dec. 29, 2012 ... Madi Buck led North Dakota in scoring (10.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg) ... Megan Lauck was second in the Big Sky Conference in free throw shooting (.835) ... UND renewed the rivalry with in-state foe North Dakota State, defeating the Bison in Fargo, N.D., 73-63 on Nov. 30 in the first game in the series since 2004 ... North Dakota scored a season-high 94 points in the season finale double-overtime loss at Southern Utah (Mar. 7) ... Lauck scored 36 points in that game, tied for 10th-most by a UND player in a single game.
The University of North Dakota women’s basketball program holds an 834-335 (.713) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974.
All-time, North Dakota is 458-94 (.829) 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 119-25 (.826) 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 -------------------- 8-6
2013-14 -------------------- 13-1

Eastern Washington was selected as the team to beat in the 2013-14 Big Sky Conference Preseason Women’s Basketball Polls. The Eagles garnered six of the 11 first-place votes in the coaches poll and 20 of 30 top nods in a poll of the media. North Dakota was picked eighth by its fellow coaches and ninth by the media that cover the league.

2013-14 SCHEDULE
Regional rivalry games highlight the 2013-14 University of North Dakota women’s basketball schedule. Home tilts against North Dakota State and South Dakota coupled with the first of a three-year series against Minnesota precede the second season of Big Sky Conference play for UND.
2013-14 schedule by the numbers
*75th all-time meeting between UND and NDSU (UND leads, 41-33)
*20 Big Sky Conference games
*16 home games total (2 exhibitions)
*Nov. 10 date of first regular season game
*Nov. 17- regular season home opener (vs. South Dakota)
*13 games against postseason teams (NCAA- Iowa State, Iowa, Montana (2); WNIT- Eastern Washington (2), Idaho State (2), No. Colorado (2), Northern Iowa, Minnesota; WBI- South Dakota.

Catch all home games and all conference road games live for FREE on the internet, thanks to Watch Big Sky. The free video webstream is available by logging onto and clicking on the Big Sky button. You can also get the new Watch Big Sky app for mobile devices and follow along with the cation live or catch on demand archives of recent games.
Take North Dakota women’s basketball with you wherever you go with’s mobile app. Download it to your computer or your smart phone for free and follow your team wherever they go.
UND women’s basketball games can be heard live on KSNR 100.3 FM in Grand Forks. Cat Country is the home for UND basketball with Mitch Wigness providing women’s basketball play-by-play and Paul Ralston handling the men’s games.
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