UND's Eighteen-Point Comeback Falls Short in Overtime, 92-91

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) -- Trailing by 18 points with 8:31 left in the third quarter, the UND women's basketball team took a three-point lead with 19.6 seconds left. However, a shot at the buzzer by Denver's Haley Simental at the buzzer forced overtime and kept momentum in the Pioneers corner (15-12, 8-6 Summit) as they defeated the Fighting Hawks (10-17, 5-9 Summit), 92-91.

The UND seniors were its star contributors as Lexi Klabo finished with a career-high 33 points with 11 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season and Melissa Dailey added 14 points. Faith Dooley grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds as the Hawks registered a season-high 58 boards. Sophomore Julia Fleecs also scored 15 points, including the go-ahead free throw for UND in the final minute of regulation.

"There hasn’t been any quit in this team all year. The ability to come back from 18 points shows the progress we’ve made this season," said Head Coach Travis Brewster. "We had some missed assignments during the course of the game, but of course it’s all about getting to and focusing on the next play. We battled, and we had a heck of a night by our seniors who played some good basketball. I thought we got a great lift by our bench at the right time."

North Dakota and Denver combined for 46 points in the first period, the most combined points in an opening period for UND and an opponent, while also combining for 15 personal fouls. UND trailed 26-20 at the end of the first quarter.

The physical continued in the second as Denver led in personal fouls, 8-4, sending North Dakota to the charity stripe 10 times. UND was 14-for-22 (63.6-percent) at the line in the first half, but the Pioneers 8-for-20 effort from three-point range proved the difference as they led 47-35 through 20 minutes.

Klabo nearly completed her double-double in the first half with 13 points and seven boards. DU's Lauren Loven led all scorers with 17 points, including five treys.

The chippy play charged North Dakota in the third as began to pick away at the Pios lead, erasing an 18-point lead to just nine at the end of the period, 68-59. Five of Denver's players entered the final period with three-or-more fouls, including Loven with four.

With Denver continuing to send the Fighting Hawks to the free throw line, North Dakota outscored UD 19-10 in the fourth quarter. Morton tied the game 75-75 with 1:22 left but it was Fleecs who gave UND its first lead with 26.4 seconds left. North Dakota has last led with 6:48 mark in the first quarter.

After a pair of free throws by Klabo with 19.6 seconds left made it a 78-75 game, Pioneer guard Haley Simental hit a desperation shot at the regulation buzzer to force overtime.

North Dakota went to the free throw line 48 times, making 32 of its attempts (66.7-percent).

The Fighting Hawks will close the regular season next week when it heads to Purdue Fort Wayne on Feb. 28 and South Dakota State on March 2.