North Dakota (22-9) at Texas A&M (24-8)
DATE: Sunday, Mar. 23, 2014 | 7:00 p.m. CT
SITE: College Station, Texas (Reed Arena)
RADIO: KSNR 100.3 FM
WEB AUDIO: UNDsports.com
LIVE STATS: NCAAsports.com
DATE: Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2014 | 8:30 p.m. CT
SITE: College Station, Texas (Reed Arena)
RADIO: KSNR 100.3 FM (if UND advances)
WEB AUDIO: UNDsports.com (if UND advances)
LIVE STATS: NCAAsports.com
TWITTER: @UNDWBasketball (if UND advances)
North Dakota makes its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament, grabbing a 14 seed and heading to College Station, Texas to battle host Texas A&M. UND (22-9) defeated Montana in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game to earn the league’s automatic-qualifying berth.
ABOUT NORTH DAKOTA
*UND is in its sixth season of NCAA Division I and second year in the Big Sky Conference (3 years in Great West Conference).
*North Dakota does not currently have a nickname. Media should refer to the team as “North Dakota” or “UND”.
*UND is located in Grand Forks, N.D. about 70 miles north of Fargo in the Red River Valley.
*UND is one of four NCAA D-1 schools in the Dakotas, two are in the NCAAs (South Dakota).
*North Dakota and South Dakota are two of five newcomers to the NCAA Tournament this season.
*North Dakota’s impressive +11.3 rebounding margin leads the Big Sky and is 6th nationally.
*UND comes into the week 13th in the NCAA in blocks (5.5 bpg)
*Mia Loyd (9) and Madi Buck (8) are the two leading players in the Big Sky Conference in double-doubles this season.
*North Dakota has out-rebounded an opponent by 20 or more six different times this year.
*UND has charted its second 20-win season of its NCAA Division I era.
*North Dakota is 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 conference wins turnaround from last season (6-14 to 15-5) is easily the most in the league (2nd- SUU, 9-11 to 15-5).
*North Dakota has doubled its overall win total from a year ago. (11/22).
*UND competed in 22 NCAA Division II Tournaments, winning three consecutive national titles (1997, 98, 99).
*No #15 or #14 seed has ever won an NCAA Tournament game on the women’s side.
NORTH DAKOTA HOARDS ALL-BIG SKY AWARDS
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.
LEAGUE MVP HISTORY
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
Madi Buck - 2014
Kayla Bagaason- 2010
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 32 tourneys, the host school has gone on to win the tournament 26 of 32 times (82% 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 six and Makailah Dyer has four 20-point games as well.
ABOUT TEXAS A& M
The Aggies, ranked 15 in the AP poll and 14 in the USA Today poll, are the 3 seed in the Lincoln Regional ... A&M won the Southeastern Conference title last year in its first season in its new league ... This year, TAMU fell to Tennessee in the semifinal game, 86-77 ... A&M won the national title in 2011 ... The SEC has 8 teams in the Women’s Basketball Tournament, more than any other conference ... Texas A&M is one of 12 schools to have qualified for all nine NCAA Tournaments from 2006-2014 ... First Team All-SEC Courtney Walker leads them in scoring at 15.2 per game ... Carla Gilbert is their top rebounder at 7.4 boards per game ... Jordan Jones has dished out 226 assists this season, more than seven per game.
DON’T PLAY COY WITH ME
University of North Dakota second-year head coach Travis Brewster has been named Big Sky Conference Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year, announced Tuesday by league officials. His team was the Big Sky co-regular season champions and also won the postseason conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament this weekend.
“It’s a humbling honor to have your peers vote for you in such a distinguished league of coaches,” Brewster said. “I value the Big Sky Conference and all the hard work it does to promote women’s basketball. This is a team award, it’s a true blessing to have the people around me all successful together, the team and my staff. I’d like to thank our Athletics Director Brian Faison, our Senior Woman Administrator Daniella Irle and President Dr. Robert Kelley for their support.”
North Dakota (22-9) was in first place for all but three days during the 2013-14 conference season, starting out 6-0 in league play and finishing with a 15-5 mark. UND’s nine-game turnaround in conference play was easily the most among Big Sky teams from last year and North Dakota tied for both the best home (9-1) and road records (6-4) in league play.
BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
In just its second season in the Big Sky Conference, the University of North Dakota has claimed the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Tournament by virtue of its 72-55 win over Montana at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in the Big Sky Championship game Saturday afternoon. Sophomore Mia Loyd was named the tourney’s Most Valuable Player after a 10-point, seven-rebound effort tonight.
Senior Madi Buck was also named to the all-tournament team. Montana’s Kellie Cole and Torry Hill joined her along with Southern Utah’s Hailey Mandelko and Idaho State’s Lindsey Reed.
UND never trailed in the tournament, jumping out to a 19-2 advantage in the semifinals Friday and securing a quick 10-1 lead in Saturday’s championship. A raucous crowd of 1,937 helped push a wave of momentum that had Montana searching for answers early.
Hill was the Lady Griz’ answer for most of the game, pouring in a game-high 21 points including timely three-pointers, four for the game. She nailed three triples in the first half to help keep it close as North Dakota had a 35-27 advantage at the break.
Coming out of halftime, Hill had a conventional three-point play to slice the deficit to a half-dozen, but North Dakota followed with a 9-2 spurt to fend off any shift in game flow. Freshman Leah Szabla scored a jumper then finished on a fastbreak layup to push the lead back to double digits where it remained throughout.
The North Dakota advantage grew to 20 on a deep triple from Makailah Dyer, but the Lady Griz had one final push. Montana trimmed the deficit down to 10 with just over four minutes left when Siri Burck helped ice the game. Her wide-open three from the top of the key followed by a fastbreak bucket put the game out of reach as North Dakota improved its home record to 15-1 this season.
Four different UND players finished with double figures in scoring, led by 14 from Buck. Loyd added two assists and two steals to her stat sheet in the win while Szabla recorded 10 points, four steals and three assists. Allyssa Wall charted 10 points to go along with six rebounds and Emily Evers had eight points and 10 boards in the win. Kelsey Knox added seven assists with just one turnover.
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 22 wins are already its most in the D-I era.
M & Ms
Mia Loyd led the Big Sky Conference (9) and Madi Buck was second (8) 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)
North Dakota checked in at 80 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, released Monday. That mark is the highest in the Big Sky Conference. Four UND opponents appear in the top 100 in the rankings this week:
Iowa State 42
North Dakota 80
Southern Utah 98
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 +11.3 margin. That rate tops the Big Sky Conference and is 6th in the NCAA. UND averages 44.0 rebounds per game (1st in Big Sky), but also allows just 32.6 (1st) to its opponent on average.
KNOX, KNOX, KNOXING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR
Since Kelsey Knox has been inserted into the starting lineup, North Dakota is 19-6. She’s played both the point and two-guard positions and has posted 98 assists to just 61 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 186 rejections, passing Kierah Kimbrough for third-most at the school. She needs just one more to lay claim to second place in program history (since 1982). Emily Evers has moved into seventh place on the list with 129 career rejections in her junior campaign.
Career blocks (since 1982)
1. Jenny Crouse 494
2. Sandi Walford 187
3. Allyssa Wall 186
4. Kierah Kimbrough 181
5. Sheri Kleinsasser 175
6. Nadine VanDerKerckhove 152
7. Emily Evers 129
CRASHING THE BOARDS
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.
MY OH MIA
Sophomore forward Mia Loyd has already quadrupled her production from last year from distance, making 5-of-15 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.
TOP OF THE SUMMIT
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.
A BIT ABOUT LAST SEASON (11-18)
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 837-336 (.714) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974.
All-time, North Dakota is 460-94 (.830) 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.
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 1,204 points, 103 behind current UND assistant coach 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 8-0.
NO MORE CHILLY MAC
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 71-for-86 (.826).
With 25 votes in the CollegeInsider. com Mid-Major poll, UND sees itself receiving votes for the 10th straight week. Gonzaga tops the poll with James Madison at 3. North Dakota would be the 29th spot in the poll based on points.
North Dakota is 126-25 (.834) 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 -------------------- 15-1
UND 8TH, 9TH IN BIG SKY POLLS...OOPS
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.
Regional rivalry games highlighted 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.
FOLLOW UND ON MOBILE
Take North Dakota women’s basketball with you wherever you go with UNDsports.com’s mobile app. Download it to your computer or your smart phone for free and follow your team wherever they go.
HOW TO FOLLOW?
You can follow UND women’s basketball on twitter @UNDWbasketball for in-game scores, notes and links live stats and how to watch. The entire NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship will be televised by the ESPN family of networks.
CAN I GET A WIGNESS?
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. Mitch Wigness provides the women’s basketball play-by-play with Paul Ralston and Kris Holm assisting.