GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Host North Dakota allowed just one field goal in the fourth quarter and out-scored first-place Weber State, 21-3, in the final frame en route to an 80-67 win Thursday evening at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Junior Jill Morton tallied a career-best 25 points in the victory, giving UND head coach Travis Brewster his 100th career win.
UND (11-12, 4-8 Big Sky) trailed by double figures and rallied on two different occasions. The Wildcats opened an early lead by hitting 7-8 threes in the first quarter before the Fighting Hawks rallied to tie it before the half. Then, in the third, North Dakota turned it over seven times and WSU (16-6, 8-3) took advantage, turning 18 UND turnovers into 23 points. UND then locked up the Wildcats, allowed just a three with 1:18 to play as WSU was 1-for-16 (6.3 percent) from the floor. Junior Lexi Klabo chipped in 20 points and nine rebounds while junior Melissa Dailey added 15 points and a career-best eight rebounds.
The teams combined for to hit 12-of-15 three-point attempts in a wacky first quarter that had Weber State enjoying a 30-21 cushion. Morton and Dailey combined to connect on their first seven shots from beyond the arc to keep the Fighting Hawks in it as North Dakota rallied all the way back to tie the score at 41-all at the break.
In the third, the teams traded baskets until WSU unleashed a quick 7-0 spurt and would stretch its lead to 10 at 64-54 with just under two minutes remaining. From that point, UND would score 26 of the next 29 points to overcome and dominate the final period. The comeback beagan with a Klabo layup and continued with Bailey Strand's three from the right wing as UND closed it to five at the fourth quarter break.
A Dailey triple made it a one-possession game then Klabo converted a three-points as the Fighting Hawks bullied their way back in front. Dailey and Morton added jumpers while the Wildcats were sporadic from the floor, missing on 11 of their 12 three-point shots in the final frame.
Klabo scored again, then a four-point possession all but sealed it for the home team. Morton made a tough runner in the lane and was fouled. She would miss the ensuing free throw but Faith Dooley was there to collect the loose change and convert it into an 11-point UND lead and a surging Betty Engelstad Sioux Center crowd.
Larryn Brooks, who led all scorers with 30, finally connected with a three with 1:18 on the clock, but WSU had gone dry from the floor for nearly 11 minutes to that point. Weber State's three points and six percent shooting from the floor in the final period were a stark contrast from the first period's gaudy 30 points on 73.3 percent shooting.
North Dakota will host Idaho State Saturday afternoon at the Betty.
Notes: Morton's 25 points were a career high as hit her first five from the three-point line ... It was Morton's fourth career 20-point game ... The Fighting Hawks' defense would hold Weber State to just three points in the fourth quarter, the fewest points allowed in a quarter since the NCAA went to the quarter system in 2015-16 ... UND improves to 9-2 at home this season ... Three of North Dakota's four conference wins have come against teams that entered the game in first place in the Big Sky Conference standings ... UND out-rebounded WSU, 48-29 ... North Dakota shot 50 percent or better for the third time in the last four home games ... UND is 9-3 all-time against Weber State ... Dooley's six points and seven rebounds were both career bests ... Strand grabbed six rebounds to tie a personal high ... Klabo recorded a career-high five assists in the win.