SACRAMENTO, Calif.-- Despite shooting 63 percent as a team and getting a career-high 29 points from sophomore transfer Makailah Dyer, visiting North Dakota fell 110-104 at Sacramento State Thursday in Big Sky Conference play. The Hornets hit 15 of 42 three-point attempts and scored 61 in the second half alone to help break a league record for points.
"That's the way they play," UND head coach Travis Brewster said of Sacramento State's break-neck pace. "The numbers can be a bit deceiving just because of the style of basketball they play. We slowed the tempo and played the game we wanted to in the first half but in the second half they cranked it back up and got us out of sorts a bit."
UND shot 74 percent in the opening half and outscored the Hornets 80-36 in the paint, but it wasn't enough. The Hornets were able to employ constant pressure and force 29 turnovers leading to 33 points.
Dyer, making her first start in the absence of sophomore Mia Loyd who is nursing a leg injury, made 11 shots from the floor and hit all six of her free throw attempts to lead the way for UND. Two different North Dakota players etched double-doubles as senior Madi Buck collected 22 points and 10 rebounds while junior Emily Evers came off the bench to contribute 10 points and 10 boards.
It was a furious pace from the onset as UND scored an uncontested layup off an inbounds play to set the tone for the night. North Dakota would make 11 of its first 13 shots (.846) and lept out to a lead of as many as 11 midway through the first half.
After the Hornets re-tied the score UND went on a little run to go into the halftime locker room with a 56-49 lead. UND shot 74.2 percent in the opening 20 minutes, missing just eight shots the entire frame.
A Dyer layup made it a 62-52 North Dakota advantage two minutes into the second stanza. Sac State answered with nine quick points a few minutes later to make it 66-65 with 15:24 left. Neither team would lead by more than seven the rest of the way.
The Hornets would finally get over the hump with a three-point play by Fantasia Hilliard with 11:48 left. The lead would change hands several times over the next few minutes until the Hornets turned an 86-86 tie into a six-point lead on back-to-back threes from Hallie Gennett and Shanti Smith and the home team never looked back.
UND got it within a bucket two different times in the final few minutes but Sacramento State made its free throws down the stretch and improved to 12-4 overall and 4-3 in the league.
North Dakota (11-6, 6-2 Big Sky) falls a half-game behind Montana State in the Big Sky Conference standings after the Bobcats secured their sixth straight win Thursday (at Weber State). UND will face Northern Arizona Saturday evening with tip coming at 7:30 Central.
Notes: Dyer has recorded a new career high in three straight games (7, 20, 29) ... Dyer started the season 2-of-8 from the free throw line (.250) but has made 22-of-28 since (.786) ... Dyer also recorded new career bests in rebounds (4) and assists (4) ... Buck remains eight points shy of 1,000 for her career ... Loyd, the league's leading rebounder, missed the first game of her career Thursday ... Ellie Ripplinger made all three free throws and remains perfect on the year (4-of-4) ... Sac State's 110 points set a new Big Sky Conference women's basketabll single-game record ... UND's last 100+ point effort came Jan. 29, 2011 in a 104-54 win over houston Baptist ... North Dakota set a new school mark for most points in a loss ... Sac State's 110 points were the most given up by a UND team in school history ... The 214 combined points broke the Big Sky single-game record.