Despite a shaky start in the first half, head coach Gene Roebuck and his University of North Dakota women's basketball team pulled out a 57-47 win over Jamestown this evening in front of 1,864 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. It was the first home game in 24 days for UND (8-9) and the first for Roebuck against his former assistant and current Jamestown head coach Greg Ulland.
"I thought that we played hard today," Roebuck said. "We even had a chance to get everyone in and give them a chance to play.
"For the rest of the way we can beat any team, but we also can get beat by any team. If we shoot the ball well, even if it is at a 40 percent clip, we are going to win games. If we don't, well, that's when you get upset. When we step on the floor, we have to be able to forget about what happened the last game and the game before that."
It took over two minutes for the first basket to drop for either team as North Dakota and Jamestown shot a combined 0-for-6 to start the game. The Jimmies' Bridget Schuneman broke the silence with a jumper at 17:56, but it was soon countered by UND as sophomore forward Madi Buck scored first for the home team (17:20).
Buck and Schuneman finished the night on top of for each of their respective teams. Buck, a native of Bismarck, N.D., led all players with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 clip at the line. She dropped in a team-high two three-pointers and blocked a career-high four shots. Schuneman finished 5-for-11 from the field and 2-for-7 from the line for 12 points
After a brief Jamestown lead and three ties, sophomore forward Katie Houdek (Grafton, N.D.) scored her first basket of the night off of a pass from senior guard Charnay Mothershed (Phoenix, Ariz.) to give UND a 13-11 lead (5:05) - its first lead of the night. The most Jamestown could do was knot it at 13-13 as North Dakota never again let the visitor's hold the advantage.
UND finished the half on an 11-5 clip to lead 24-18 as the teams headed to the locker-room. North Dakota shot 27 percent (10-for-37) from the field, 0-for-6 beyond the arc, and 66.7 percent (4-for-6) at the line. Jamestown was 7-for-30 (23.3 percent) from the field, 3-for-10 (30 percent) at three-point range, and 1-for-2 (50 percent) at the charity stripe.
The energy to start the second half was much different than the first as a combined 10 points were scored in the first two minutes. Charnay Mothershed struck first with a three-pointer - UND's first of the night - to set up a 12-5 run for North Dakota. The run was capped by a trey from Buck and a pair of free throws by senior guard Charnise Mothershed (Phoenix, Ariz.).
Trailing 36-23, the Jimmies put in five unanswered points, but UND countered with a field goal from redshirt freshman center Emily Evers (Grand Forks, N.D.) and a three by junior guard Carly Rothfusz (Eden Prairie, Minn.). Those five points were the start to an eventual 15-5 clip that would take North Dakota to an 18-point lead (51-33) with 6:01 left in the game.
Jamestown knocked the margin down by two, but UND quickly answered with a fast-moving transition play. True freshman guard Cy'erra Mills (Maple Grove, Minn.) stripped Schuneman of the ball down on the Jamestown end and quickly dished off to Smart, who was making a run down the far side. With speed, Mills beat the Jimmies down the court, but her pass from Smart was a little too far ahead. As she flew across the baseline and out of bounds, Mills got a hand on the ball and flipped it to an open Houdek, who kissed it off of the glass for two.
The run proved to be the game-winning combination as UND held on for the victory.
Charnay Mothershed added seven points to Buck's total, and UND's post players combined for another 18 points. Sophomore Allyssa Wall (North Sioux City, S.D.) finished with seven on 5-for-7 shooting from the line, Houdek came away with six, and Evers scored five. Rothfusz used a three-pointer, a field goal and a free throw to end the game with six points.
UND finished 20-for-68 (29.4 percent) from the field, 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) at three-point range, and 13-for-23 (56.5 percent) at the free throw line.
Also in double figures for Jamestown was Hannah Steele, who went 8-for-10 from the field, including a three-pointer, and 4-for-5 at the line to tally 11 points. The Jimmies shot 27.3 percent (15-for-55) from the field, 27.8 percent (5-for-18) behind the arc, and 63.2 percent (12-for-19) at the charity stripe.
UND converted Jamestown's 22 turnovers in to 19 points while committing just 14 turnovers itself, and won the rebounding battle 50-47. Eleven points were scored on second chances and, led by Houdek and Rothfusz, the North Dakota bench combined for 22 points.
"We are capable of playing tough for 40 minutes, and we proved that with wins earlier against Duquesne and Northern Iowa," Roebuck said. "Right now we just in a funk, a mental funk, and we have to get out of that."
North Dakota will take to the road one last time before opening the 2011-12 Great West Conference season at home against Utah Valley (Jan. 21). UND's final non-conference road game will take place in Cambridge, Mass., at the Lavietes Pavilion against first-time opponent Harvard. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (CT).