Courtesy: Shawna Noel Schill, UND Division of University & Public Affairs
Notes: Home exhibitions open women's hoops season
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
Release: 11/02/2017
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Nov 4
Minnesota Morris (exh.) Betty Engelstad Sioux Center 2:00 p.m. 100.3 FM, 740 AM  Live Audio  Live Stats
Nov 8
Minnesota Crookston (exh.) Betty Engelstad Sioux Center 7:00 p.m. 100.3 FM, 740 AM  Live Audio  Live Stats

North Dakota opens its 2017-18 campaign with a pair of home exhibitions. UND will host Minnesota Morris on Nov. 4 and Minnesota Crookston on Nov. 8 before opening the regular season at Oregon State on Nov. 10.

Junior forward Lexi Klabo was named to the Big Sky Conference Preseason Team while her team was picked second by both the media and the coaches in the preseason polls. North Dakota has now been picked in the top two by the coaches in each of the last five preseason prognostications.

UND in the Big Sky preseason coach’s poll
Year                 Pick      Finish
2012-13          6th        T9th
2013-14          8th        T1st
2014-15          1st         T5th
2015-16          2nd       T2nd
2016-17          2nd       T1st
2017-18          2nd       --

Two different schools that finished in the top 10 of the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) last season appear on UND’s formidable non-conference slate. Oregon State (Nov. 10) was a 31-5 team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 while national power Baylor (Dec. 5), a seven-time defending Big 12 champion, highlight the non-league lineup.

 Three future Summit League foes dot the schedule as South Dakota State (Nov. 15) and South Dakota (Dec. 21), both of whom were WNIT qualifiers in 2016-17, join North Dakota State (Dec. 9) in key regional matchups.

 All told, nearly half of North Dakota’s non-conference schedule is against teams that were in the top 100 (5 of 11). Add Montana State once the league schedule gets underway and UND will have seven total games against top 100 teams and a total of 12 games against teams that made the postseason a year ago.

Bailey Strand (24 to 22) and Kaila Burroughs (32 to 23) are each wearing new numbers this season.

North Dakota will face a pair of nationally-ranked teams, according to the first WBCA poll. North Dakota matches up with 17-ranked Oregon State in the regular season opener then gets third-ranked Baylor on Dec. 5.

*12 total games vs. postseason teams from last season (5 NCAA, 2 WNIT, 5 WBI)
*7 games against Top 100 RPI and two in the Top 10 (Oregon State- 6, Baylor- 7, South Dakota State- 45, Montana State (2)- 59, Northern Iowa- 60, South Dakota- 80).
*UND’s nine Division I non-conference opponents combined for a 185-105 (.638) record last season, averaging 21 wins each.
*UND is playing its sixth and final season in the Big Sky Conference before moving to The Summit League in 2018-19.
*North Dakota (4) is the only Big Sky team with an active postseason streak longer than two.
*In the last four seasons, UND has the most overall wins (78), Big Sky wins (52), league road wins (21) and tied for most Big Sky regular season titles (2).
*North Dakota is 893-376 all-time (.704) with three national championships (DII) and 17 conference championships in 43 seasons.

The Cougars finished 20-7 overall and 14-2 in the UMAC last season to finish second in the nine-team NCAA Division III conference. UMM lost to undefeated league champ Wisconsin-Superior in the league’s tournament title game.  This season’s Cougar squad is a young bunch that sees seven returners without a single senior on the roster and five freshmen joining the mix. The Cougars do return their top five scorers from a season ago: junior Elli Stephenson (14.0 ppg), junior Kendra Raths (11.8), junior Mauren Thiesen (11.4), sophomore Abby Van Kempen (8.2) and junior Bailey Miller (7.9)

The Golden Eagles earned 51 points in the NSIC preseason poll, seven points behind Southwest Minnesota State University in 12th and eight points ahead of Bemidji State University in 14th. Minnesota Crookston was selected seventh in the NSIC North. The Golden Eagles return a veteran squad that returns four starters from last season. Minnesota Crookston will look to their upperclassmen to lead the way in the form of returning starters Micaela Noga and Caitlin Michaelis at guard, and Emily Gruber and Isieoma Odor in the post. Odor leads all returnees after averaging 13.3 points per game, while Michela Noga notched 10.1 points per game and shot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. Gruber and Michaelis were also impact players averaging 8.2 points and 5.1 points respectively. Noga was selected as the NSIC Player to Watch for Minnesota Crookston.

The University of North Dakota women’s basketball program holds an 893-377 (.703) record all-time since the first game was played in 1974. All-time, North Dakota is 493-105 (.824) 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.

You can follow UND women’s basketball on twitter @UNDWbasketball for in-game scores, notes and links to live stats and how to watch.

Take North Dakota women’s basketball with you wherever you go with’s mobile app. Download it to your computer or your smart phone for free and follow your team wherever they go.

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 for affiliates and stations covering the postseason.


North Dakota Basketball

3 NCAA titles, 17 conference championships
2014 Big Sky Conference regular season & tournament champions
2017 Big Sky Conference regular season champions
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