Game notes: NAU clash has postseason implications
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
DATE: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 | 3:30 p.m. CT
SITE: Flagstaff, Ariz. | Rolle Activity Center
RADIO: KSNR 100.3 FM
WEB AUDIO: UNDSports.com
WEB VIDEO: BigSkyTV.org
TV: Fox College Sports
LIVE STATS: NAUathletics.com
North Dakota closes out its brief two-game road swing with a Saturday afternoon tilt at Northern Arizona that has tons of playoff implications. Both teams are battling for the seventh and final spot into the Big Sky Conference tournament with NAU a game back and UND a game-and-a-half behind seventh-place Southern Utah.
Host Sacramento State used two different 14-0 runs in the opening period to grab an 80-62 win at the Hornets’ Nest Thursday night. Sac State turned UND over 31 times in the contest and scored 48 points off those miscues en route to the win. Emily Evers had 17 points to pace UND while Mia Loyd chipped-in 12 points and seven boards and Nicole Smart added 11.
SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS
Northern Arizona sits a half-game in front of UND heading into Saturday’s matchup, tied with Portland State for eighth place in the Big Sky race ... Four teams are battling for that seven spot with NAU, SUU, UND and Portland State all having five or six conference wins ... NAU has the top field goal percentage in the conference with a .407 mark ... Amy Patton-- the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder-- paces the conference with her 18.6 points per game.
SERIES HISTORY... NORTHERN ARIZONA
UND now boasts a 3-0 all-time series lead after its 70-50 win on Jan. 26 this year. North Dakota is 1-0 in Flagstaff.
EARLIER THIS YEAR WITH THE LUMBERJACKS
North Dakota used a 21-2 first-half run to grab a decisive 70-50 win at the Betty Jan. 26. UND held a 41-17 lead at the break, its largest halftime lead and the fewest points allowed in any half this season. Madi Buck registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Nicole Smart and Megan Lauck each chipped-in 11 points in the win.
GET THAT OUTTA HERE!
Sophomore Emily Evers rejected four shots in the first half alone and finished with a career-best five blocks in the win over Montana State last week. For the season, Evers has 44 rejections to give her 80 for her short collegiate career. Her 2.0 average is good for second in the Big Sky. She’s just 17 blocks away from entering the top 10 on UND’s season blocked shots record and 44 from qualifying for the top 10 in a career.
TIME TO MAKE A MOVE
North Dakota is battling for a Big Sky Conference tournament seed with the top seven advancing to the postseason tournament, hosted by the regular season champion. As of Friday, UND sits a game-and-a-half back of the seventh position in the standings with four teams all within two games of each other. North Dakota will play three of those teams in the final five games and have three of its final four games overall at home.
UND has had ten different players in its starting five at some point this season. Only junior Allyssa Wall and freshman Josie Dillon have not made a start this season for UND. Senior Nicole Smart and junior Madi Buck are the only two players to start every contest this season.
Limiting turnovers has been the key thus far for success as UND is 5-0 when it turns the ball over 15 times or less this season. Additionally, North Dakota has won its last five games in which it its opponent has equal or more turnovers this season.
WON’T BACK DOWN
Through its first 12 games, UND played a pair of teams that made the NCAA Tournament and six more that advanced to the WNIT last year.
NCAA- Iowa State, Idaho State; WNIT- Harvard, Duquesne, South Florida, Drake, Northern Colorado, Utah.
BUCK STARTS HERE
Junior forward Madi Buck was recognized as the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week Jan. 2 for her performance in UND’s 62-56 upset win at Utah Dec. 29. The Bismarck, N.D. native scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds to go along with a career-high five blocked shots in the win. She became the second North Dakota player to earn the award after Emily Evers grabbed honors earlier in the season.
“CENTER” OF ATTENTION
Sophomore center Emily Evers was named co-Big Sky Conference Player of the Week Dec. 10. Evers broke out in the win over Air Force last Tuesday by establishing new career bests with 17 points and 15 rebounds in the blowout victory over the Falcons. She also added two assists and a pair of blocks in just 14 minutes of action. She followed that performance with another 17-point effort in Saturday’s overtime win against Drake. She notched yet another double-double-- her third of her career-- with 10 rebounds as well. Evers chipped-in four blocks and two steals and sealed the win in the final second of overtime with a free throw make.
UND’s OVERTIME OVER TIME
Before its Dec. 8 win over Drake, North Dakota had not played in an overtime contest since a 81-79 win at South Dakota back on Jan. 13, 2007. With the win over the Bulldogs, UND extended its overtime winning streak to three straight with its last loss in an overtime game a Mar. 15, 2004 defeat in the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Final against South Dakota State (72-70). All time, UND is now 14-9 in games decided in extra frames, including a perfect 3-0 mark when it goes beyond one extra period.
A BIT ABOUT LAST SEASON (21-11)
The University of North Dakota women’s basketball team picked up the Great West Conference regular-season and postseason tournament titles, winning nine straight games to finish 9-1 in league play ... Center Allyssa Wall (North Sioux City, S.D.) was named to the GWC All-Tournament team and was voted the tournament’s most valuable player ... Also named to the all-tournament team was center Emily Evers (Grand Forks, N.D.), who averaged a team-high 13.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and shot 74.4 percent from the field ... UND advanced to its first-ever NCAA Division I postseason play, heading to Seattle University for the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).
The University of North Dakota women’s basketball program holds an 814-323 (.717) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974.
The season-opening loss to Harvard pushed UND’s record in season openers to 29-8 all-time. North Dakota is now 19-5 in season openers at home, including losses each of the past two seasons.
The home opener is the start of a very challenging part of UND’s schedule. Each of the first four opponents qualified for a postseason tournament a season ago. In addition, only one of those games is at home for UND (vs. Harvard). Iowa State went to the NCAA Tournament while Harvard, Duquesne and South Florida all competed in the WNIT.
PROTECT AND SERVE
All-time, North Dakota is 443-91 (.831) 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.
YOU BETTY, YOU BETTY, YOU BET!
North Dakota is 110-21 (.840) 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 -------------------- 7-4
UND FIFTH, SIXTH IN BIG SKY POLLS
UND was picked to finish fifth by the media and sixth by the coaches in the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference preseason polls. After three seasons in the Great West Conference following its move to NCAA Division I, UND enters its first season in the league.
The top four spots were identical in both polls with Idaho State, the defending Big Sky regular season and tournament champion, grabbing the top position. Northern Colorado was the runner-up with Montana and Montana State slotted third and fourth, respectively, in both polls.
This year’s slate includes 16 total home games (two exhibitions),10 games against postseason teams (NCAA- Idaho State (2), Iowa State; WNIT- No. Colorado (2), Drake, Duquesne, Harvard, South Florida, Utah), a re-kindling of the North Dakota State rivalry and the inaugural season of the Big Sky Conference. UND will play each Big Sky foe twice in home-and-home contests to make up 20 of North Dakota’s games this season.
BIG SKY TV
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 bigskyconf.com and clicking on the Big Sky TV button.
FOLLOW UND ON IHEART RADIO
Take North Dakota women’s basketball with you wherever you go with KSNR 100.3 FM (CatCountry) on the iheartradio app. Download it to your computer or your smart phone.
CAN I GET A WIGNESS?
All UND women’s basketball home games during the Big Sky Conference schedule can be heard live on KSNR 100.3 FM or KKXL 1440 AM in Grand Forks. Be sure to tune to 1440AM for all UND basketball home games in conference action with Mitch Wigness providing women’s basketball play-by-play and Paul Ralston handling the home men’s games.