Fighting Hawks fall to No. 12 South Dakota
There's no question that the University of North Dakota (15-14, 6-10 Summit) closed the month of February with grit and determination unrivaled by the team since the start of Summit League play. However, the aptly dubbed Fighting Hawks could not overcome one of the top teams in the country as No. 20/12 South Dakota (27-2, 16-0 Summit) completed a perfect conference season with its 76-47 victory.
Jaclyn Jarnot led UND on the scoreboard, and the glass with eight points and six rebounds as North Dakota outboarded the Yotes, 43-38. The University of North Dakota had 11 of its 12 players get on the scoreboard. Julia Fleecs tallied seven points while Olivia Lane led the bench with six.
The Fighting Hawks were relentless defensively as they disrupted the Coyotes rhythm on the offensive end of the floor, forcing South Dakota to shoot 16.7-percent from the field. UND won the battle of the boards at a 14-11 clip and only allowed USD to one basket on second-chance attempts.
North Dakota continued that tenacity in the second quarter, matching USD shot-for-shot in the early going as Claire Orth and Megan Zander tied the game at free throw line. Jaclyn Jarnot would give North Dakota its first lead with 7:42 remaining in the half. However, after probing around, South Dakota found its passing lane into the paint, where it scored 12 of its 18 points in the period.
Jaclyn, Fleecs, and Zander all closed the half with five points in the opening 20 minutes of play. North Dakota forced seven Yotes turnovers and finished tied in boards at 20 apiece. South Dakota recovered offensively with a 47.1 field goal percentage to finish the first half at a clip of 31.4.
Trading seven ties and two leads in the opening half, the Fighting Hawks were unable to keep that momentum moving as South Dakota began to build steam in the third period, eventually going on to lead by 32 in the fourth quarter.
The Fighting Hawks parried the South Dakota attack in the final period as they only allowed the Coyotes to shoot 35-percent in the quarter and to score 17 points.
North Dakota closes the regular season with a 15-14 record with a 6-10 Summit League register, clinching the seven seed at next week's Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D.
As a result, UND will take on South Dakota State at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center on Saturday, March 7, in the second game of the day at 2:30 p.m. Central.