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North Dakota Falls to Denver in Overtime, 86-79

North Dakota women's basketball
North Dakota women's basketball(WMTV)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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DENVER (UND Athletics) - Despite its best effort at the buzzer, the University of North Dakota (1-15, 1-9 Summit) played its fourth overtime game of the season at Denver (5-10, 3-4 Summit) to set a new school-record; however, the Fighting Hawks could not overcome the Pioneers hot three-point and free-throw shooting as they fell, 86-79.

Julia Fleecs scored a season-high 24 points and matched a career-high 16 rebounds, while Olivia Lane added 11 points, and Maggie Manson scored 12 on four treys. DU’s Meghan Boyd finished with 27 points. UND out rebounded Denver, 61-44, to record a new season-high in the category.

While the numbers were flowing for North Dakota, who also drained eight three-pointers and season-best 30 field goals, the offense was at peak efficiency with Mikayla Reinke running the point as the senior captain tallied nine points and a career-high nine assists.

North Dakota finished +11 with 35 crashed boards in the first half of play as both teams struggled from the field. Denver held a four-point lead at the break, 31-27, as Boyd scored 17 of Denver’s points.

While Fleecs scored 10 points in the first 20 minutes of play, she continued her aggressive play on the offensive end, scoring 10 points in the third quarter to give her a season-high 20 entering the final period. Fleecs also finished the third quarter with a double-double.

With Fleecs showing her All-Summit League colors in the third, the Kelly Green and White shot 10-of-18 from the field with three treys to take a 56-50 lead into the final quarter. A 10-5 run in the opening three minutes gave the Fighting Hawks a double-digit lead, 66-55, and the energy to close the period 8-of-18 from the field.

While North Dakota played strong, Denver was stronger at the end of regulation, hitting a pair of timely three-pointers to tie the game at 74 with 1:08 remaining. While North Dakota had wide-open looks from its hottest hands, the misses resulted in DU two baskets.

”One of the things we have to learn is that time management piece,” said Interim Head Coach Mallory Bernhard, “we of course want to run but that doesn’t mean we have to take an early shot. Playing fast might mean getting up and down the floor quickly, forcing the defense to run with us. It doesn’t mean we need to take a shot in the first eight seconds of the shot clock.”

With 0.4 left on the clock, Fleecs received an in-bounded ball on the baseline and banked her shot off the glass, but an official review deemed the shot late to set UND’s new school record.

Free throws proved the difference in overtime as the Pioneers finished 7-of-8 to the Fighting Hawks 0-of-0 to take the series-opener, 86-79. Denver closed the night 20-for-24 at the free-throw line and 12-of-39 behind the arc.

After a chippy affair, North Dakota and Denver will close the series tomorrow, Feb. 6, tipping with the Pioneers at 4 p.m. Central.

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