GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- Junior Emily Evers scored 15 points and added 14 rebounds helping to spark North Dakota to a late rally from a six-point deficit to etch a 71-68 Big Sky Conference victory over Sourthern Utah Thursday evening at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The UND trio of Evers, Madi Buck and Allyssa Wall combined for 52 points in the win.
UND (7-4, 2-0 Big Sky) trailed by six with 2:36 to go as Southern Utah led for the majority of the second half. It was Hailey Mandelko's deep triple that gave the Thunderbirds that six-point cushion but the North Dakota defense turned up the heat, not allowing a point following that three and letting the home team rally for an exhilirating win.
The first three points of that run came on an Evers conventional three-point play and after Leah Szabla hit two from the line, Evers later hit a pair of key free throws that iced the game with 2.2 seconds to play.
SUU (7-4, 1-1) was led by Mandelko's 21 points off the bench on the strength of 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. But, the Thunderbirds were in foul trouble all game long, fouling out four different players allowing UND to shoot 36 foul shots (27-of-36) to aid in the comeback.
North Dakota enjoyed a quick lead on strong perimeter shooting by Wall, who had a dozen in the opening frame. SUU would later rattle off a 9-0 run midway through the period and would lead by as many as eight before taking a 38-32 edge into halftime.
That SUU lead would remain intact and would stretch to as many as 10 with 11:16 to play. A block by Evers followed by an offensive rebound and a finish on the other end sparked the Betty crowd as Evers energized the 1,480 in attendance.
Buck was a consistent source for scoring, chalking up 23 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists a block and a steal. Wall finished with 14 points, six boards, six blocks and two assists.
UND hosts Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. tip from the Betty.
Notes: Wall tied a career high with six blocked shots ... Evers recorded her first double-double of the season ... UND is 5-0 when Wall scores in double figures this season .. UND made its final 12 free throw attempts in Thursday's victory ... North Dakota improved to 5-0 at home this season.