GRAND FORKS, N.D. (USD) – North Dakota evened the score on the season as they defeated South Dakota 83-66 on Saturday in Grand Forks. The Coyotes rallied from 14 down but weren’t able to seal the comeback as the Fighting Hawks evened the series to 1-1 on the season.
It was a balanced night for North Dakota (13-9, 6-6 Summit) with six players scoring in double-digits, including a game-high 15 points from Juliet Gordon. Standout point guard Kacie Borowicz followed with 12 points of her own while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing six assists for a well-rounded stat line. However, Borowicz, who has been averaging 20.1 points per game on the season, was guarded by South Dakota’s go-to defender in Macy Guebert who was able to hold her well below her season average.
Nakiyah Hurst led the Fighting Hawks with 16 points when they faced South Dakota earlier this season in Vermillion. She had another good game for North Dakota today as she scored 10 points and had a big defensive presence with three steals.
South Dakota (11-13, 7-6 Summit) battled with just eight healthy bodies, all of which played just about 20 minutes apiece or more, after a tough overtime loss on Thursday. Carley Duffney had another double-digit night for the Coyotes with a team-high 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 shooting from the line. Her presence down low was key for the Coyotes as North Dakota is one of the teams in the league that doesn’t outsize the Coyotes. Duffney attacked the basket and drew six fouls to send her to the line multiple times.
Grace Larkins and Alexi Hempe followed Duffney with 13 and 10 points respectively. Larkins, who battled through foul trouble once again, played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls. Hempe’s points came at big moments, as she drained her first three towards the end of the second quarter to give the Yotes a 36-35 lead.
It was a game of runs today with both teams going on big runs and also enduring long stretches of scoring droughts. South Dakota came out fast with a 7-0 start as North Dakota didn’t score its first bucket until three minutes into the game. The second quarter also saw a five-minute scoreless period for the Fighting Hawks as South Dakota went on an 11-2 run to finish the half. Quarter three started with a 10-point lead for North Dakota before the Yotes went on yet another run, scoring 10 straight points to come within two with UND leading 54-52. However, the Fighting Hawks came out strong to start the fourth quarter, going on a 9-2 run to build up a 12-point lead. South Dakota had good looks but wasn’t able to knock them down or cut the lead below double-digits as North Dakota outscored the Yotes 22-12 in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
North Dakota was able to endure the Coyote runs and held the lead through a majority of the game, going up by as many as 17 late in the fourth quarter. The Fighting Hawks showed a strong defensive presence, forcing 15 Coyote turnovers and converting those into 26 points. North Dakota also pounded the paint to score 38 points inside compared to South Dakota’s 22 points down low.
South Dakota returns home to host in-state rival South Dakota State on Saturday, Feb. 11.