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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 13 2013

UND-NDSU women's basketball rivalry returns to Grand Forks

FARGO – It will be the second time North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota will play women’s basketball since the series resumed as Division I universities. So that renewed rivalry theme is no longer fresh.

But it’s still NDSU and UND, and the latter gets to host the Bison for the first time in 10 years. As usual, NDSU head coach Carolyn DeHoff said she’s expecting a hostile environment for her team at 2 p.m. today at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

“Certainly, the majority of people will be against us,” she said. “And that’s just fine. We’ve been out on the road a lot and been in those environments. But I’m really pleased where our group is at, and I think we can handle it.”

NDSU is 3-6, with a highlight of winning the DoubleTree LA Westside Thanksgiving Classic, beating Montana and host UC Irvine. The Bison continue to be led by point guard Brooke LeMar, who’s averaging 15.7 points.

Forward Holly Johnson had a career-high 31 points last week against Wyoming. The week before that, forward Miki Stephenson and guard Kahla Becken turned in career highlights.

“It’s nice to see different kids step up,” DeHoff said. “We need to continue to do that.”

The Bison haven’t been home since an 86-82 loss to Northern Iowa on Nov. 20. But they get a high-major team at the Bison Sports Arena next Tuesday when Mississippi State comes to town.

UND is 3-3 after a narrow 46-44 loss at the University of Minnesota. Junior forward Madi Buck is averaging 16.5 points. Sophomore forward Mia Loyd has been an immediate hit, averaging a double-double at 11.5 points and 10.0 rebounds.

“We have to match their physical style,” DeHoff said. “They’re tenacious, especially on the glass. This is a great time for us to play them.”

Siri Burck, a 6-foot guard from Fargo South, has started the last three games for UND.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia