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UNC dethroned by North Dakota

By Brittany Riley
On February 5, 2017


UNC and North Dakota share the No. 1 spot in the Big Sky, but the Hawks now own the tie breaker with a win over the Bears.  Photo by Alex Nunley |The Mirror

The Northern Colorado women’s basketball fell to 10-1 in conference play after suffering a loss to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks Saturday afternoon in Greeley.

UNC’s offense struggled, shooting just 25 percent, in the nail-biting 57-51 loss.

"Savannah Smith did a good job getting in the game and finding a way to score for the team even with the physicality of it,” said coach Kamie Ethridge. “Our offense overall didn’t take advantage of what they were giving us.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Savannah Smith led the way for the offense scoring 22 points on the afternoon and shooting 90 percent from the line. Smith was also able to continue her 20-point game streak advancing it to five games.

North Dakota came out firing from the start holding the Bears to just one point through the first seven and a half minutes. The Bears first score came from senior guard Katie Longwell’s layup after a 9-1 run by the Fighting Hawks.

UNC had a similar run in the second quarter along with another run of five unanswered points to end the half down by a score of just 26-25. 

North Dakota began the second half in much the same way as the first, scoring 11 unanswered points. The third quarter saw the Fighting Hawks earn their biggest lead of the game at 

15 points.

Saturday afternoon’s game was unquestionably the most physical game at the Bank of Colorado as the big bodied North Dakota team seemed to run over the much smaller guards of UNC. The fighting hawks were finally called in the first half as Savannah Smith was fouled hard and fell to the ground underneath the ND basket and stayed down and appeared to be injured.

Smith stayed in the game and ended up rallying UNC to a single point defecit at the end of the half.  

Late in the fourth quarter, Smith hit two deep 3-pointers to chip away at the Fighting Hawks lead. While the Bears got within a few points several times, the team never took the lead from the Fighting Hawks, who won 57-51. Both teams are now tied for first place in the conference with records of 10-1.

“We just were not prepared for them and the defense they brought at us and the physicality of the game,” said junior guard Savannah Scott. “They have big bodies that are tough to prepare for when you don’t have those types of bodies to practice against.”

Northern Colorado was held to their lowset scoring night since their 58-47 loss to Colorado State back in December. 

Neither team was strong on defense, but both teams had a strong rebound outing. North Dakota with 58 and Northern Colorado with 53, a season high and tying the record in UNC school history.

The Bears are on the road for their next two games, but will be back to defend the den against Weber State on February 16 at 7 p.m.


sports@uncmirror.com

    

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