GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Senior Madi Buck scored a career-high 37 points and added nine rebounds, three assists and three steals in one of the best individual efforts in the series against arch-rival North Dakota State to lead UND to an 88-83 win Saturday afternoon at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Bismarck, N.D., native poured in 26 points in the second half alone, hoisting the team on her back to overcome a seven-point deficit in the final minutes of the game.
"I'm very proud of this team on how they handle themselves when they are challenged at timeouts and at practice," UND head coach Travis Brewster. "They always put their best foot forward."
Her team trailed 77-70 with under five minutes to go but Buck would not let UND drop a big rivalry game. Buck scored 10 points over the final five minutes, including a huge three with 1:27 left to put UND up for good. She scored the final eight North Dakota points-- seven coming in the final 90 seconds-- as UND earned its fourth straight win in the series.
She started the run with a pair of free throws, part of her 12-of-14 effort from the charity stripe Saturday. It was part of a crazy sequence that saw the senior corral multiple offensive rebounds and grab a key steal to keep the rally alive. After Mia Loyd drove the lane and scored on a tough runner to make it 79-74, Leah Szabla scored on back-to-back UND trips and the margin was trimmed to one, bringing the 2,261 in attendance into a full frenzy.
The second Szabla runner came when NDSU's Miki Stephenson had secured a defensive rebound but Buck swiped the ball from behind and Szabla took advantage of the second-chance opportunity for an 81-79 Bison lead.
Buck would tie the score at 81-apiece with just over two minutes to play and rallied the team all the way back when she tripled from the right wing for her fifth make from distance. On the ensuing Bison offensive sequence, Buck stole the ball from Brooke LeMar and salted the game away from the free throw line to give her 37 points, tied for seventh-most ever by a UND player in a single game.
That crazy second half followed a first frame that had UND in front for a large portion-- including a nine-point lead at one point-- but NDSU took its first lead in the final minutes of the half and went into the locker room with a two-point edge. Both teams were hot from the floor as the visitors made half of their shots from the field (17-34) and UND shot 43.6 percent.
That nine-point cushion came on the strength of a 10-2 UND run with three from Siri Burck and a pair of buckets from Loyd for a 28-19 North Dakota lead. NDSU (3-7) would immediately respond coming out of a timeout with back-to-back threes from Holly Johnson and Bree Whatman to inch within three.
UND rebuilt the advantage to 37-29 on a turnaround hook in the post but NDSU ended the half on a 14-4 run and the Bison led 43-41 at the break. NDSU kept that lead for most of the second half until Buck's triple in the final minutes set the stage for the fantastic finish.
North Dakota (4-3) had four players in double figures with Szabla and Loyd chipping in 13 points and Allyssa Wall added 11. NDSU was led by Marena Whittle's 23 points, part of five Bison in double figures.
North Dakota plays host to Mayville State Wednesday with tip coming at 7:00 p.m.