Hawks finish with a flurry to down Wyoming – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — For more than 30 minutes, the UND women’s basketball team did enough to maintain a shaky lead over Mountain West Conference’s Wyoming.

However, the Cowgirls found a little spark midway through the fourth quarter and took a 53-52 lead with five minutes left.

The Hawks ignited that spark with fire – they broke out on a 15-2 late-game run that resulted in a 67-55 win over Wyoming in front of 1,166 fans at The Betty on Friday.

It was an impressive early season win for UND over a program that had great success at last year’s WNIT tournament and was selected for fourth place at this season’s MWC.

“That was a really good win,” said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. “We had a lead for much of the game, going back by one and then coming back. That’s where the resilience of our team came in and that’s what really excites me about this team.”

Wyoming’s Grace Ellis hit an inside bucket for a 53-52 lead with a 5:07 to go. Jolene Daninger was fouled when UND took possession of the ball. She hit the first free throw to tie the game. She missed her second, but Miranda VanderWal caught the rebound and scored, giving the Hawks a 55-53 lead.

That was the start of UND’s 15-2 run to end the game.

“I thought we played hard the whole game, but then we looked at the scoreboard and were like, ‘Oh shoot, we’re down and we’ve got to flip this thing,'” said Daninger, who finished with eight points and 12 rebounds . “We stayed calm, made good stops and converted that into an offensive.”

UND’s overall game has improved greatly since defeating Detroit Mercy earlier this week. The Hawks, at a size disadvantage compared to the Cowgirls, ramped up their defensive efforts and held their ground on the boards. Wyoming possessed a 45-42 rebound advantage. It is also worth noting that AND committed only four turnovers.

Kacie Borowiz led AND with 20 points while Nakiyah Hurst added nine. Daninger, Claire Orth and Juliet Gordon all finished at eight.

Wyoming’s momentum that led to his lone lead of the day was quickly taken away by the Hawks.

“We focused on defense,” Borowicz said. “They scored some points on some kick out threes so we really focused on our defense. That win was great for us, we went into conference and next week in Montana.”

Neither team shot well, Wyoming 34 percent to AND’s 36 percent.

But the Hawks’ defense and turnaround were impressive. The gritty, fast-paced style of play exhibited by UND could be the team’s role model as they have to overcome a lack of size this season. At one point, AND had four guards on the ground.

“We knew they were a good team and we knew we had to fight, especially at the post office,” said Juliet Gordon. “We kept them to 23 points in the first half. That is really good and we must continue to do so.”

AND will play at Montana State next Friday and Montana next Sunday.

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Fighting Hawks guard Joli Daninger (1) drives the ball in the first quarter of a matinee women’s basketball game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks Friday, May 11, 2018.

Nick Nelson/Grand Forks Herald

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AND swingman Claire Orth, left, fights on Friday, May 11.

Nick Nelson/Grand Forks Herald

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AND swingman Sammiyah Hoskin (21) celebrates on Friday 11.

Nick Nelson/Grand Forks Herald

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