OGDEN, Utah-- Sophomore Mia Loyd scored a career-best 27 points to go along with 12 rebounds while senior Madi Buck added 22 points and 11 boards to lead North Dakota to an 83-72 Big Sky Conference win at Weber State Saturday afternoon. UND records its 10th win in its last 12 games with the victory.
"We talked at halftime about finishing ball games and we responded," UND head coach Travis Brewster said. "Weber State is much improved and credit them, they did a great job attacking us. I'm so proud of this group and how hard they work. We just have to continue to get better."
North Dakota (10-4, 5-0) is the first Big Sky Conference team to five league wins and is the lone undefeated team in the conference after Sacramento State lost Saturday to Southern Utah.
It was a 16-0 run in the middle stages of the first half that provided the spark need for UND to take the lead. The teams had swapped baskets in the early going until Loyd's lay-up with just over five minutes gone by generated the start of the run. Two jumpers apiece from Siri Burck and Madi Buck followed and with just over nine minutes to play in the half, Leah Szabla's drive made it a 22-8 UND advantage.
That North Dakota lead would stretch to as many as 16 in the opening period and UND took a dozen margin into the halftime locker room.
Weber State (4-9, 0-4) immediately went to work on the lead in the early portion of the second stanza. The Wildcats whittled the deficit down to just six and eventually closed to within five with 10:36 to play. Each time WSU put the lead in danger, UND responded. With the lead at just four, Loyd scooped up an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and scored it to quell any momentum shift.
Loyd later had a conventional three-point play and the advantage grew to 13 on a spinning layup by Kelsey Knox in the paint with five-and-a-half minutes remaining. WSU made one final run, getting a Jalen Carpenter jumper and a steal and feed to Kalie Matthews for a 66-59 North Dakota edge with 4:40 to go.
A steal and a three-point play by Emily Evers put it back over double digits and UND made its free throws down the stretch to sweep its first-ever Big Sky Conference two-game road swing. Evers finished the night with 10 rebounds and seven points off the bench for North Dakota, who won the rebounding battle, 53-35.
UND will host Montana Thursday night at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. tip is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Notes: North Dakota improves to 9-1 when it out-rebounds its opponent this season ... UND is 6-0 when it scores at least 70 points ... Loyd registered her fifth double-double while Buck recorded her fourth ... Loyd had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the second half alone ... It was Buck's fourth 20+ point game of the season and Loyd's third ... Buck now sits at 954 career points ... UND holds a game-and-a-half lead over four teams following Saturday's play, three are North Dakota's upcoming opponents (Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State) ... North Dakota's winning streak is currently at four, its longest of the season.