VALPARAISO, Ind. (UND Athletics) -- A third-quarter surge boosted visiting North Dakota to a 62-56 non-conference win at Valparaiso Sunday afternoon at the Athletics Recreation Center. UND allowed just four points in that frame to erase a four-point deficit, claiming the lead for good. North Dakota had to withstand a furious Crusader rally in the final minute, but Alaina Jarnot's free throw makes with 15 seconds left helped ice it.
With a minute to go, North Dakota enjoyed a 10-point lead, but Faith Dooley had fouled out and Lexi Klabo and Jill Morton each picked up their fifth fouls, allowing Valpo to attempt a comeback without three UND starters on the floor. The Crusaders were able to trim the deficit down to four but the Hawks persevered as Jarnot knocked down two freebies to provide the winning margin for UND's first win of the season.
Three players were in double figures for North Dakota with Klabo leading the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. Bailey Strand added 11 points while Melissa Dailey chipped in 10 first-half points.
Both offenses were slow coming out of the gate as the home team was able to get out to a 17-11 advantage in the first quarter. Melissa Dailey had seven in that quarter off the bench for UND to keep it close, but Klabo was held scoreless in that opening frame. The Fargo, N.D., native would score seven in the second and eight more in the third as the Fighting Hawks rallied to take the lead.
With the score 30-26 at halftime, North Dakota embarked on a 13-2 run and eventually outscored the Crusaders, 14-4, in that stanza to build a lead of six. North Dakota kept Valparaiso at bay in the fourth, leading by as many as 11 with just over four minutes to go. That advantage was still at 11 with 1:37 left when Valpo attempted a late comeback.
Back-to-back layups by Meredith Hamlet put the lead in peril at just four but only 33 seconds remained. UND couldn’t get a stranglehold on the game, missing four straight free throws in the next two trips but rebounded both of Valpo’s field goal misses before Alaina Jarnot got the game to the finish line with a pair of free throw makes with 15 seconds left.
Valpo had one final push but Julia Fleecs rejected Bryce Blood’s shot on the final possession and North Dakota picked up its first win of the season.
North Dakota remains on the road Wednesday to face Illinois State University. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. Central.
*UND improves to 5-10 over Missouri Valley Conference schools-- 4-4 under coach Brewster-- including a 2-0 mark over the past two seasons.