GREELEY, Colo.-- Freshman Leah Szabla's three from the corner-- UND's only triple of the contest-- with just over a minute to play helped propel visiting North Dakota to a hard-fought 68-65 win over Northern Colorado in UND's Big Sky Conference opener. Allyssa Wall added a jumper with 26 seconds left and UND held on for the victory.
Trailing by one with 1:11 remaining, UND came out of a timeout and drew up a play for Szabla. The freshman drilled an open look from three in front of her own bench to give UND a two-point cushion. Following a pair of free throw makes from UNC's Stephanie Lee, who led with her game-high 29 points, tied the score at 65-all.
On the next possession, Kelsey Knox drove the lane and found Wall open from the left baseline. The senior calmly swished a 10-footer and North Dakota led, 67-65, with under a half-minute to go. The ensuing trip for UNC saw the Bears try to pound it in low to the league's leading scorer, but Lee was met with a double team and Jamie Derrieux's shot was rejected by Wall to help preserve it.
Szabla was fouled from behind and split the pair from the free throw line to give UND a win in its first league contest of the season while UNC fell to 5-5 overall, 0-2 in Big Sky play.
UND was in foul trouble early with three players picking up two personals in the first five minutes. Madi Buck would eventually foul out, forcing the visitors to play without its leading scorer for nearly the final four minutes.
The lead changed hands nine times in the second frame to go along with five tie scores. After UNC led by as many as eight points, Wall's turnaround jumper with 12:27 left put the lead in UND's favor for the first time in the second stanza. Buck scored seven points in a two-minute stretch to counter Lee's production in the post.
Sophomore Mia Loyd followed up her 19-point, 22-rebound performance Wednesday with a career-high 20 points Saturday. She added 14 rebounds in the win. Szabla had 16 points while Allyssa Wall and Madi Buck each chipped-in 11 points for UND.
North Dakota (6-3, 1-0), winners of six of its last seven, steps outside of conference play for the final time heading to the University of Iowa next Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. tip.
Notes: Makailah Dyer played her first game for North Dakota after transferring from the University of Wisconsin ... North Dakota matched its league road win total from a season ago.