Loyd had a double-double at the break.
Loyd's effort powers UND into Big Sky title game
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Updated: Tuesday 03/14/2014 20:46:51 (ET)
by Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
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GRAND FORKS, N.D.- Led by a double-double effort from sophomore Mia Loyd, the top-seeded University of North Dakota women's basketball team handled fifth-seeded Idaho State, 78-53, in the first semifinal at the Big Sky Conference Tournament Friday at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Loyd tallied her league-leading ninth double-double of the season and did so by halftime as UND raced out to a 19-2 advantage out of the gates and never looked back.

Loyd finished the night with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Makailah Dyer poured-in 25 points off the bench in the rout. The UND (21-9) reserves outscored the Bengal bench 40-8 in the win. Lindsey Reed scored a game-high 27 points for ISU (14-17).

"Bottom line, this team loves to play in front of its home fans," UND head coach Travis Brewster said. "I think you saw a team that came out with a purpose. I'm really proud of this group's effort tonight."

Coming off a late game last night in an overtime win in the quarterfinals, ISU missed 16 of its first 17 shots and North Dakota piled-up all the momentum and a 17-point lead midway through the half. UND owned the glass, outrebounding the Bengals, 28-12, in the first stanza. Loyd had 11 points and just as many rebounds in the opening frame, setting the tone for UND's first-ever Big Sky Conference Tournament game.

It was a lead of two dozen at halftime with North Dakota enjoying a comfortable 39-15 advantage. The lead never dipped below 20 in the second half and UND improved to 14-1 at home this season, including wins of 30, 30, and 25 in its last three.

After a Sheryl Bitter three closed the deficit to 12, UND leading scorer Makailah Dyer got hot, hitting a pair of free throws and then back-to-back triples to help stake the home team to a 33-11 lead.

Coming out of the break, Loyd continued to go to work, hitting just her fifth three-pointer of the season as she hit nine of her first 10 shots from the floor. It was her sixth 20-point game of the season but just her first since scoring 22 in a win over Portland State on Feb. 1st.

The rebounding margin was heavily in favor of North Dakota, 47-30 with UND using 13 offensive rebounds to score 17 second-chance points. The paint points were also slanted in UND's favor with a 22-10 edge for North Dakota.

Allyssa Wall had six points, seven rebounds three blocks, three steals and two assists in a solid effort Friday. Leah Szabla complemented with a six-point, six-rebound, three-assist game. North Dakota held ISU to just 26.3 percent shooting from the floor, the Bengals' lowest percentage of the season.

North Dakota will play the winner of the No. 2 seed Southern Utah and three-seed Montana semifinal in Friday's late game. The championship game will tip at 3:00 p.m. at the Betty.

Notes: Wall's three blocks (185 career) leaves her just two shy of reaching second place in the UND record book for career rejections (since 1982) ... Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player Madi Buck only took six shots all night and scored four points in the blowout ... Dyer went 10-of-12 from the free throw line, making her first 10 ... Dyer now has scored 20 points or more four times this season ... The host of the Big Sky Conference Tournament has won the whole thing 25 of 31 times ...

Highlights and a full recap to follow.



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