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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published February 07 2013

Buck, Smart propel UND to victory over Bobcats

GRAND FORKS – Montana State’s women’s basketball team handled the University of North Dakota by 15 points in the teams’ first meeting last month in Bozeman.

It’s a good thing the Big Sky Conference season consists of 20 games, lasting from mid-December through early March.

And lessons often are learned in such a long season, much like the one UND capitalized on during its 62-55 win over Montana State on Thursday night before 1,362 fans.

“Everybody gets better the second time around,” said Montana State coach Tricia Binford.

UND improved to 5-8 in the league and 10-12 overall while Montana State, which entered the weekend in third place, fell to 8-5 and 14-8. It was the Bobcats’ fourth-straight loss.

UND’s goal is to make the Big Sky postseason playoffs. North Dakota needs to finish seventh or better in the 11-team league. The win against the Bobcats kept those hopes alive and UND could get an even bigger boost with a win over league-leading Montana on Saturday.

The boost against Montana State came from Madi Buck (19 points) and Nicole Smart (14). The two experienced players were the difference.

“Madi and Nicole did a great job of coming to the forefront,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “They were scrapping. Madi was a beast on the boards (11 rebounds) and Nicole did a nice job of controlling the tempo.

“Everyone is starting to play together and we’re seeing the results of their hard work.”

UND threw a different look at Montana State, using a 1-3-1 zone defense. It was the first time UND played that defense this season. The Bobcats, who saw a 2-3 zone from UND last month in Bozeman, didn’t help themselves – shooting only 34 percent and committing 23 turnovers.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance to compete with our turnovers,” Binford said.

Buck and Smart took control of the game with back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half to give UND a 31-26 advantage.

MS (14-8, 8-5 BSC): Durham 3-12 0-0 7, Stockton 1-7 0-1 2, Allen 2-6 0-0 5, Dawkins 2-7 0-0 4, Semansky 4-7 1-2 9, Elliott 0-2 1-2 1, Brumwell 6-10 2-2 15, Carter 0-2 0-0 0, Hommes 0-1 0-0 0, Adams 4-8 4-4 12.

UND (10-12, 5-8 BSC): Smart 3-7 6-6 14, Buck 4-7 8-10 19, Evers 3-6 0-2 6, Lauck 1-6 2-2 5, Loyd 0-2 0-0 0, Burck 2-3 0-0 4, Rothfusz 1-4 2-2 4, Mills 1-3 4-4 6, Wall 2-6 0-0 4.

Half: MS 24, UND 23. 3-point goals: MS 3-19 (Durham 1-7, Stockton 0-3, Allen 1-3, Ferris 0-1, Elliott 0-1, Brumwell 1-3, Carter 0-1), UND 6-13 (Smart 2-3, Buck 3-4, Lauck 1-3, Rothfusz 0-1, Mills 0-1, Dillon 0-1). Total fouls: MS 19, UND 15. Rebounds: MS 39 (Brumwell 8), UND 36 (Buck 11). Assists: MS 11 (Semansky 3), UND 9 (Evers, Rothfusz 2). Steals: MS 14 (Durham 3), UND 7 (Lauck 2). Turnovers: UND 23, UND 25. A: 1362.


Nelson is the Sports Editor of the Grand Forks Herald