WOMEN’S NATIONAL INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT (WNIT)
DATE: 1st round- Thursday, March 16, 2017 | 7:00 PM
SITE: Vermillion, S.D. (Sanford Coyote Sports Center)
RADIO: 1440 AM , 104.7 FM (Mitch Wigness)
WEB VIDEO: TBA
WEB AUDIO: UNDsports.com
LIVE STATS: goyotes.com
*North Dakota is making its fourth straight postseason appearance and fifth in its NCAA Division I era.
*No other Big Sky schools has qualified for the postseason in each of the past four years.
*The Big Sky will send four teams to the postseason this year (Montana State- NCAA, North Dakota- WNIT, Eastern Washington and Idaho- WBI).
*North Dakota has had six different players score at least 20 points in a game this season (Makailah Dyer, Leah Szabla, Jill Morton, Samantha Roscoe, Lexi Klabo, Fallyn Freije)
*Makailah Dyer has 19 career games with 20+ points, eight this season (most in her career).
*Dyer is into the top 15 list in scoring at UND (1,455), recently passing former teammate Mia Loyd and into 13th place.
*Leah Szabla became the 35th in UND history to reach 1,000 career points in the win at Sacramento State Mar. 1. She is the sixth player in UND’s Big Sky era to etch 1,000.
*Lexi Klabo is second in the Big Sky in rebounding (8.4) and field goal percentage (.549) this season.
North Dakota, the co-Big Sky Conference regular season champions, has earned the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) for the first time in school history. It marks UND’s fourth straight postseason appearance following a pair of WBI outings and an NCAA appearance in 2014. UND will face rival USD, the reigning WNIT champions, in the first round.
SPENDING TIME ON I-29
UND and USD are no strangers to each other, playing 73 games in their all-time history. It dates back to 1977 and will soon span three different conferences. UND and USD were roomies in the North Central Conference (NCC) in NCAA Division II before making the jump to Division I together in the Great West Conference. They will rejoin each other as league foes in 2018-19 when UND moves to the Summit League.
TRIO OF FIGHTING HAWKS HONORED BY THE BIG SKY CONFERENCE
Senior Makailah Dyer was a unanimous selection on the first team while sophomores Lexi Klabo (2nd team) and Fallyn Freije (honorable mention) also earned accolades for the co-regular season champions. The three honorees are the most for UND in its five seasons in the Big Sky and was tied for the most of any league school this season. North Dakota has now had a 1st team honoree in each of the past four seasons (Dyer, Madi Buck, Mia Loyd twice).
LAST TIME OUT
North Dakota fell to seventh-seeded Portland State, 65-62, in the quarterfinal round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament Wednesday, Mar. 6. Sophomore Lexi Klabo notched her sixth career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
All-time series vs. South Dakota
UND leads 49-24
Home: 29-9, Away: 19-15, Neutral: 3-0
DYER, DYER PANTS ON FIRE
Makailah Dyer earned the Big Sky Conference’s Player of the Week for a second straight time after her performance in UND’s Feb. 25 win over Northern Colorado. The senior dropped 17 points and added a career-high 11 rebounds to etch her first double-double in the win.
Makailah Dyer’s 30-point career-high outburst in the Feb. 18 win vs. Weber State marked the first 30-point game for a UND player since Dec. 14, 2013 vs. North Dakota State, a 37-point barrage from Madi Buck.
CASH ME OUSSIDE, HOW BOW DAH?
UND had out-shot its opponent from the three-point line (by percentage) down the stretch, posting a better percentage or equal in 12 straight consecutive games until its Big Sky qaurterfinal loss to Portland State. In that stretch, North Dakota shot 35% or better from deep seven times and held its opponent to 30% or under 30% in seven of those contests.
Head coach Travis Brewster picked up his second Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year honor, following his 2014 accolade. Brewster becomes the first coach without the No. 1 seed to be named the top coach by his peers since the award was shared back in 2011. The fifth-year man has led UND to 89 overall wins combined, including a league-best 52 conference wins over the last four season.
IT WAS ABOUT TIME
Dyer’s Big Sky Player of the Week accolade Feb. 21 was the first for a UND player since Feb. 9, 2015. Mia Loyd, then a junior, picked up the final of her league-high four that season. Since the last time UND had a Big Sky Player of the Week, it had:
*Won 38 games overall
*Recorded a 27-13 mark in league play
*Beaten NINE different Big Sky teams at least twice, including six of them three times.
*Beaten both Montana and Idaho State FOUR times each.
SATURDAYYYYY IN THE PARK
North Dakota is a ridiculous 10-1 in Saturday games this season after a 75-68 win over Northern Colorado on Feb. 25. In Coach Brewster’s tenure, UND sports a 42-25 (.627) mark on Saturdays.
LET’S PLAY ON THURSDAY OR SATURDAY, HUH?
In a statistical outlier, five of UND’s losses this season have come on non-traditional game days: Friday and Sunday. North Dakota’s loss in the regular season finale was its second loss in as many tries on Friday (vs. Drake) while UND is 0-3 on Sundays (at Texas Tech, at Kansas, at Northern Iowa) for an 0-5 mark on the two days combined.
UND has had a flair for the dramatic, playing 11 games decided by five points or fewer this season. In those situations, North Dakota is an impressive 8-3. Eight of UND’s league games were decided by five or fewer points.
KEEP IT UNDER 70
UND is an impressive 15-1 when holding its opponent under 70 points this season. In Coach Brewster’s five-year tenure, North Dakota is 74-25 (.747) when keeping the opponent under 70 and 63-15 (.808) the past four seasons.
WEST COAST COMEBACKS
UND won both of its non-conference games against West Coast Conference teams this season, needing comebacks to achieve each victory. North Dakota rallied back from an 11-point, third-quarter deficit in its most recent win at San Diego. On Dec. 6, UND came all the back from down 13 in the third quarter as well before a 71-63 win.
SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST
In UND’s Jan. 7 win at Southern Utah, the Fighting Hawks were able to rally back from down 16 by outscoring the Thunderbirds, 26-9, in the final quarter for a 68-63 win. Makailah Dyer had 17 of her game-high 20 in that final frame alone.
Coach Brewster’s teams also crank it to another level when the calendar turns to a new year. in the month of January, his teams are now 29-14 (.674) combined. This year, UND was 7-1 in the first month of the year.
DECEMBER TO REMEMBER
UND pieced together its winningest December in its NCAA DIvision I era with a 6-2 mark. North Dakota’s six wins were two more than any other UND team could produce. Coach Travis Brewster has chalked up a 20-12 (.625) record in his five seasons at the helm.
DOUBLE DOUBLE DATA
North Dakota can boast four different players with double-doubles this season. All four players registered the first of their careers this season.
Lexi Klabo- 5
15 pts 10 reb 11/13/16 at Texas Tech
18 pts, 10 reb 12/10/16 at NDSU
16 pts, 17 reb 12/31/16 vs. Sac State
25 pts, 14 reb 1/5/17 at NAU
17 pts, 14 reb 1/19/17 at Weber State
22 pts, 11 reb 3/6/17 vs. PSU
Fallyn Freije- 3
13 pts, 11 reb 1/14/17 vs. Montana
22 pts, 11 reb 1/28/17 vs. NAU
10 pts, 10 reb 2/4/17 at UNC
Samantha Roscoe- 1
12 pts, 12 reb 1/12/17 vs. MSU
Makailah Dyer - 1
17 pts, 11 reb 2/25/17 vs. UNC
NEW SCHOOL MARK FOR FREE THROWS
Senior Makailah Dyer connected on all 14 of her free throw attempts Dec. 18 at Northern Iowa to set a new school record for free throw makes without a miss in a single game. She broke Kristi Boese’s record (13-13) in the first game played in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (Nov. 15, 2004).
EIGHT IS ENOUGH?
Head coach Travis Brewster nabbed his eighth wins against both Weber State and Idaho State this season, tied for the most against any one school.
Coach Brewster most wins vs. opponents
Weber State 8-2
Idaho State 8-3
Northern Colo. 7-3
Northern Ariz. 6-2
Portland State 6-4
North Dakota St. 5-0
Eastern Wash. 5-3
North Dakota has only been beat on the glass just 10 times this season, with a 6-4 record in those games. UND is averaging a +3.9 rebounding margin through the regular season. In Coach Brewster’s 156-game tenure at UND, his team has only been out-rebounded 34 times.
FRANKLIN’S ON THE DIME?
Junior Chastity Franklin handed out 11 dimes in the Jan. 7 win at Southern Utah, tied for the most in the Big Sky Conference this season. It also marked the most assists in a game by a UND player since March 7, 2009 when Danye Guinn had 11 in a 97-68 win over Houston Baptist in North Dakota first season at the Division I level.
Boy, that escalated quickly
Sophomore Jill Morton scored a career-high 21 points in the Dec. 13 win over Mary. She did so with the help of a fourth-quarter burst that saw her score 11 points in a 90-second span. She tripled to make it 59-47, then hit another three in the left corner and followed that with a drive and finish with the free throw on a conventional three-point play. Her final bucket staked UND to a 68-51 lead, its largest of the evening.
DON’T ACT LIKE YOU’RE NOT IMPRESSED
UND piled up the career highs in the win over Mary on Dec. 13. The bench scored 56 points, most since Mar. 9, 2012 in a Great West Conference Tournament win over UT-Pan American (now UT-Rio Grande Valley). Some highlights of career highs set in that game:
Franklin- 4 (tied)
Roscoe- 3 (tied)
North Dakota banged home 12 three-point shots in the win over Northern Arizona (Jan. 5), the most in a six-year span. The last time UND had a dozen threes was back on Jan. 29, 2011, a 50-point blowout of Houston Baptist. Current assistant coach Mallory Bernhard (Youngblut) had six of them in the win.
DOUBLING UP FROM DOWNTOWN
UND is making nearly double the amount of threes per game as last season. North Dakota shot just 11.3 per game last year, making 3.4 per game (.301). This season, the shots are up to 17.9 per contest and making 5.9 a game, a .327 clip.
TOP OF THE SUMMIT
North Dakota played four Summit League teams last season and boasts an 11-3 all-time mark against that conference in Division I play. UND announced it will move to the Summit beginning with the 2018-19 season.
11/25/11 vs. Southern Utah* W, 62-61
11/30/12 at North Dakota St. W, 73-63
11/17/13 South Dakota W, 65-61
12/14/13 North Dakota St. W, 88-83
11/26/14 at Omaha W, 72-52
11/29/14 at Western Ill. W, 85-77
12/6/14 at North Dakota St. (ot) W, 90-87
12/21/14 at South Dakota L, 81-86
11/17/15 Omaha W, 67-52
12/8/15 Western Illinois W, 78-67
12/12/15 North Dakota St. W, 71-54
12/19/15 South Dakota L, 70-73
12/6/16 South Dakota St. L, 72-83
12/10/16 at North Dakota St. W, 76-55
*now in the Big Sky Conference
Lexi Klabo etched her second career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win over North Dakota State. The Fargo, N.D. native tied then-career highs with both numbers and did not miss from the floor in the win (5-5 FG, 1-1 3FG).
MAK’S SIX PACK
Makailah Dyer set a new career standard with six three-point baskets in the season opener vs. Drake. She hit four of those in the first half en route to a 24-point night, which was her 13th 20-point game of her career.
COACHES PICK FIGHTING HAWKS SECOND IN PRESEASON POLL
UND was picked second by the league’s coaches in the Big Sky Conference Preseason Poll. UND was slotted fifth in a tight media poll that had five different schools with at least one first-place vote. Defending league champion Idaho took the coaches poll, edging out UND by just three points, while regular-season champ Montana State was the media’s top selection.The UND women have been picked in the top two spots of the coaches poll in each of the past three seasons and have a conference title (2014) and a runner-up finish (2016) while qualifying for a postseason tournament in each of the past three seasons as well (NCAA in 2014, WBI in 2015 and 2016).
UND has already had 17 different 20-point performances this season, led by eight by senior Makailah Dyer. Active 20-point games:
UND has yet another solid pre-conference schedule, loaded with postseason regulars. A peek at how tough the non-conference slate was for North Dakota:
Only three Division I teams on UND’s non-conference schedule did not make the postseason and two are from Power 5 conferences (Texas Tech, Kansas, NDSU). Six of UND’s nine non-conference D-1 opponents played past their league tournaments last season.
Opp. PS 15-16 Rec.
Drake WNIT 23-10
Iowa WNIT 19-14
Mayville St. -- 16-13
San Francisco NCAA 21-12
South Dakota St NCAA 27-7
Mary -- 15-16
Opp. PS 15-16 Rec.
Texas Tech -- 13-18
Kansas -- 6-25
North Dakota St -- 7-22
Northern Iowa WNIT 24-11
San Diego WNIT 24-8
The University of North Dakota women’s basketball program holds an 893-376 (.705) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974.
All-time, North Dakota is 493-105 (.827) when it comes to defending its own court. The team played at the UND Fieldhouse/Hyslop Sports Center before moving into its current home at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in 2004-05.
SENIOR CAPTAINS NAMED
Leah Szabla, Samantha Roscoe and Makailah Dyer have been chosen by their teammates to represent the leadership group for the Fighting Hawks as they eye another postseason run. The trio of Szabla, Roscoe and Dyer have been part of one of UND’s most successful runs. This class was the catalyst for North Dakota’s 11-game turnaround in their freshmen season, a memorable Big Sky Conference championship and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearance. Since, UND has appeared in the postseason in each of the next two seasons as well, hosting and winning its first Division I postseason game last year against Grand Canyon in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
HOW TO FOLLOW?
You can follow UND women’s basketball on twitter @UNDWbasketball for in-game scores, notes and links to live stats and how to watch.
FOLLOW UND ON MOBILE
Take North Dakota women’s basketball with you wherever you go with UNDsports.com’s mobile app. Download it to your computer or your smart phone for free and follow your team wherever they go.
CAN I GET A WIGNESS?
All UND games can be heard live on the UND sports Home of Economy Radio Network, the flagship for UND basketball. Mitch Wigness returns for his fifth season behind the mic providing the play-by-play. Follow UNDsports.com for affiliates and stations covering the postseason.