Buck, UND top in-state rival NDSUFARGO — The rivalry renewal was the University of North Dakota’s to win from start to finish, with the beginning point not long after UND got on the bus Friday. The players watched a 2004 Bison-Sioux women’s basketball game.
By: Jeff Kolpack, The Dickinson Press
FARGO — The rivalry renewal was the University of North Dakota’s to win from start to finish, with the beginning point not long after UND got on the bus Friday. The players watched a 2004 Bison-Sioux women’s basketball game.
North Dakota head coach Travis Brewster was impressed at how glued the players were to the TVs.
“We were just jacked up watching the last game,” said UND forward Madi Buck. “We were all excited to pick up where we left off.”
UND did that, bolting to a big early lead before holding off NDSU to take a 73-63 victory before 2,709 fans at the Bison Sports Arena. NDSU never really had an answer for Buck, who played the game at a faster pace than anybody else and finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
“I wanted to play my heart out for this game,” she said.
If there was any reminder of yesteryear, it came with 5:31 left when Buck was whistled for an intentional foul on NDSU’s Kahla Becken, who lay on the floor holding her face for a couple of minutes.
Becken regrouped to hit two free throws as part of eight straight Bison points that pulled them within 59-53 — the closest they got since the early minutes and about the only time the BSA got rivalry loud.
“It’s a great rivalry, the fact they’re an hour away and the two North Dakota schools,” said Bison guard Hannah Linz. “It’s a bummer we couldn’t pull it off, but it will be great in the future.”
Buck’s driving layup, two Brianna Williams’ free throws and Megan Lauck’s three-point play halted NDSU’s momentum, the latter with 2:45 left that made it 66-55.
The Bison got within six once more, but UND hit its free throws in the final minute to keep a Bison rally at bay.
“For us to get a win here is a big deal,” Brewster said. “It’s not ‘the game’ of the year but a significant game.”
The significance of this game came in the first 12 minutes. Buck eight of her team’s first 10 points and the Bison were left playing catch-up the rest of the night.
“We dug ourselves a hole, and it’s not the first time we’ve done that,” said Bison head coach Carolyn DeHoff.
The lead stretched to 27-9 with 7:20 left in the first half before the Bison started to chip away.
“It’s tough to come back from 27-9,” DeHoff said.
They got it to 36-27 at halftime and missed a couple of chances at the start of the second half to dent the deficit further.
“We just couldn’t hit shots,” Linz said. “Everything was rolling out.”
Linz and guard Katie Birkel led NDSU with 18 points each. Forward Marena Whittle had 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. But everybody else was a combined 4 of 33 from the field.
“The atmosphere was great, but I feel bad we couldn’t come away with a win for our fans and alumni who are here,” DeHoff said.