Courtesy: Eric Classen,
Makailah Dyer poured in 25 off the bench in UND's 78-53 semifinal win Friday.
The Betty set for a Big Sky championship
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
Release: 03/15/2014
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#3 Montana at #1 North Dakota
DATE: Saturday, Mar. 15, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. CT
SITE: Grand Forks, N.D. (Betty Engelstad Sioux Center)
RADIO:  KSNR 100.3 FM, WDAY 970-AM
TWITTER: @UNDWBasketball

Defending league champion Montana and this season' regular season co-champion North Dakota square off for the chance to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament Saturday in the Big Sky Conference Tournament title game.

Led by a double-double effort from sophomore Mia Loyd, the top-seeded University of North Dakota women's basketball team handled fifth-seeded Idaho State, 78-53, in the first semifinal at the Big Sky Conference Tournament Friday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Loyd tallied her league-leading ninth double-double of the season and did so by halftime as UND raced out to a 19-2 advantage out of the gates and never looked back. Loyd finished the night with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Makailah Dyer poured-in 25 points off the bench in the rout. The UND (21-9) reserves outscored the Bengal bench 40-8 in the win. Lindsey Reed scored a game-high 27 points for ISU (14-17).

Coming off a late game last night in an overtime win in the quarterfinals, ISU missed 16 of its first 17 shots and North Dakota piled-up all the momentum and a 17-point lead midway through the half. UND owned the glass, outrebounding the Bengals, 28-12, in the first stanza. Loyd had 11 points and just as many rebounds in the opening frame, setting the tone for UND's first-ever Big Sky Conference Tournament game.

Montana owns a 6-3 lead in the series ... The teams split this season with each home team claiming victory ... On Jan. 16, Montana had a nine‐point lead midway through the second half, 45‐36, but North Dakota rallied for a 62‐57 win ... In Missoula, UND had a late lead but UM scored 10 of the final 11 points, including a turnaround jumper in the final second sby Carly Selvig to win 52-49.

*North Dakota’s impressive +11.0 rebounding margin leads the Big Sky and is 8th nationally.
*UND comes into the week 11th in the NCAA in blocks (5.7 bpg)
*Mia Loyd (20 pts, 14 rbs) had a double-double at halftime of Friday's seminfinal win (11 pts, 11 rbs).
*UND's bench outscored Idaho State's reserves, 40-8 on Friday.
*North Dakota has out-rebounded an opponent by 20 or more six different times.
*UND has charted its second 20-win season of its NCAA Division I era.
*North Dakota will be making its second postseason appearance in its Division I era (2011-12 WBI).
*Madi Buck is the first UND player to earn league MVP honors in the Big Sky (any sport).
*UND’s nine-game turnaround from last season (6-14 to 15-5) is easily the most in the conference (2nd- SUU,  9-11 to 15-5).
*The Big Sky Tournament is in North Dakota for the first time. Since its inception in 1983, Montana has hosted the championship 20 times with Idaho State with the second-most with three. The only other current members to host are: Weber State (2), Eastern Washington, Montana State and Portland State (1).

The All-Big Sky Conference teams had a heavy North Dakota feel. Four different UND players were recognized Monday with senior Madi Buck highlighting the group as the Big Sky Player of the Year and only unanimous All-First Team selection. Sophomore Mia Loyd was named to the second team while junior Emily Evers tallied co-sixth woman of the year and sophomore Kelsey Knox collected top newcomer honors.

Buck became the 10th UND player to earn conference MVP honors and just the second in Division I. Here’s a look at UND history-makers who have earned Most Valuable Player awards from their respective conference

Big Sky
Madi Buck - 2014

Great West
Kayla Bagaason- 2010

North Central
Ashley Langen- 2008 (co-MVP)
Kristi Boese- 2006
Becky Moen- 2002 (co-MVP)
Theresa LeCuyer- 2001
Jenny Crouse- 1998 and 1999
Sheri Kleinsasser- 1995
Durene Heisler- 1990

Since the Big Sky Conference Tournament’s inception in 1983, nine different schools have hosted. In the 31 prior tourneys, the host school has gone on to win the tournament 25 of 31 times  (81% of the time). The last host to not win was Portland State in 2011. A #2 seed has won the whole thing three times while the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 seeds all have won once.

Senior Madi Buck scored 20 points in the win over Sacramento State on Feb. 20 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.

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 20 wins are already second-most in the D-I era (21).

Mia Loyd (9) and Madi Buck (8) are one and two in the Big Sky Conference in double-doubles this season. The duo is among the league leaders in number of double-digit rebound games as Loyd has a Big Sky-leading 11 and Buck has nine. Emily Evers (3) 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. For her career, she has 1,186 points and would need to score 121 points in the postseason to move in to 15th place at the school (Mallory Youngblut- 1,307).

Senior Allyssa Wall, with a free throw in the first half, surpassed the 900-point mark in her career. When she scores in double figures this season, UND is a perfect 7-0.

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 57-for-70 (.814).

As of last week, with 12 votes in the CollegeInsider. com Mid-Major poll, UND sees itself receiving votes for the eighth straight week. North Dakota and Southern Utah share what would be the 30th spot 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 50 in the rankings this week:

School    RPI
Iowa    23
Iowa State    41
Minnesota    43
North Dakota    91
Southern Utah    97
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 7-8 on the road this season, including six road wins in the conference, tied for most in the Big Sky (SUU- 6-4).

North Dakota secured its 300th program road win Jan. 25 at Northern Arizona. In its 39 seasons, UND owns a 302-183 (.624) mark in true road contests, including a 7-8 record this season.

North Dakota crashes the boards better than its opponents, a +11.0 margin. That rate tops the Big Sky Conference and is 8th in the NCAA. UND averages 44.0 rebounds per game (1st in Big Sky), but also allows just 33.0 (1st) to its opponent on average.

Since Kelsey Knox has been inserted into the starting lineup, North Dakota is 18-6. She’s played both the point and two-guard positions and has posted 91 assists to just 60 turnovers in her starts and has added 23 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 152 rejections, passing Kierah Kimbrough for third-most at the school. She needs just two more to lay claim to second place in program history (since 1982). Emily Evers has moved into seventh place on the list with 128 career rejections in her junior campaign.

Career blocks (since 1982)
1. Jenny Crouse    494
2. Sandi Walford    187
3. Allyssa Wall    185
4. Kierah Kimbrough    181
5. Sheri Kleinsasser    175
6. Nadine VanDerKerckhove    152
7. Emily Evers     128

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 increased her production from the perimeter, making 5-of-14 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.

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 834-336 (.713) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974.
All-time, North Dakota is 459-94 (.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 120-25 (.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 -------------------- 14-1

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.

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. 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.
Catch the championship game on KSNR 100.3 FM or WDAY 970 AM. Cat Country is the home for UND basketball. Mitch Wigness has the call.



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