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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published December 18 2013

UND avoids a letdown at home vs. Comets

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota is in the midst of its finals week. Four days ago, the UND women’s basketball team beat rival North Dakota State in dramatic fashion. In three days, UND plays its first Big Sky Conference game.

A handful of reasons existed for a possible UND letdown Wednesday night in its game against Mayville State.

But UND had enough of everything to take a 71-62 win over the Comets before 1,352 fans at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, a victory that improved North Dakota 5-3.

“It was a dangerous game,” UND coach Travis Brewster said. “It’s always tough on kids during finals week. But they’re in finals week, too. We just had a big game against NDSU and we used a lot of energy in that one.”

UND, however, still had enough energy against Mayville, a ranked and scrappy 11-2 NAIA program that didn’t back down. The Comets, led by Marcisa McMillan’s 20 points, led 9-2 early and didn’t quit after UND went up by 20 points with less than nine minutes to go.

“Credit Mayville; they did a nice job,” said Brewster. “They stuck to their game plan and knocked down shots.”

UND’s boost came from Mia Loyd, who finished with 19 points and 22 rebounds – four shy of the single-game record set in 1998 by Jenny Crouse.

A 3-pointer by Sabrina Rude (15 points) cut UND’s lead to 26-25 with 7 minutes left in the first half. Loyd responded with three straight baskets for a 32-25 UND advantage. Kelsey Knox finished the spurt with a basket, giving North Dakota a 34-25 advantage with three minutes left in the first half.

The distractions UND faced in a game in which it was favored was difficult, but not demanding, said Loyd.

“It’s tough; but it’s something we have to do,” said Loyd. “We’re student-athletes. We do this every year. We needed to finish strong before the break.”

Loyd was strong on the boards. The Comets launched 32 three-point attempts, making 10. That provided Loyd rebounding opportunities.

“I was told to rebound,” Loyd said. “Long shots equal long rebounds. And my teammates did an excellent job of boxing out.”

UND placed three players in double figures. Allyssa Wall finished with 16 points for North Dakota while Madi Buck ended with 10.

UND’s size advantage was revealed in rebounding as Loyd and North Dakota dominated the boards 60-30.

“We got a good spark from Mia,” Brewster said. “She focused herself and got herself going again. She had been in kind of a funk.

“In a game like this, you just have to come out and execute.”

MSU (11-2): Heier 3-7 0-0 7, Longtin 0-8 0-0 0, Hoglo 4-11 4-4 13, McMillan 7-14 3-4 20, Tauer 1-5 2-3 4, Laforet 0-4 3-4 3, Kassube 0-2 0-0 0, Blair 0-0 0-0 0, Rude 5-12 0-0 15, McNary 0-2 0-0 0, Henrikson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-65 12-15 62.

UND (5-3): Szabla 0-3 0-0 0, Burck 0-3 0-0 0, Buck 3-10 4-4 11, Knox 3-7 0-0 6, Wall 6-9 4-4 16, Loyd 6-13 7-7 19, Klapprodt 1-1 0-0 3, Roscoe 0-2 0-0 0, Ripplinger 0-1 0-0 0, Dillon 2-7 0-0 6, Evers 4-10 0-0 8, Kiser 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 26-68 16-17 71.

Half: UND 38, MSU 27. 3-point goals: MSU 10-32 (Rude 5-11, McMillan 3-6, Heier 1-3, Hoglo 1-2, Longtin 0-6, Tauer 0-3, McNary 0-1), UND 3-19 (Dillon 2-6, Klapprodt 1-1, Buck 0-4, Knox 0-3, Burck 0-3, Szabla 0-1, Ripplinger 0-1). Total fouls: MSU 13, UND 15. Rebounds: MSU 30 (Hoglo 10), UND 60 (Loyd 22). Assists: MSU 12 (Heier 3), UND 16 (Knox 6). Steals: MSU 12 (Longtin 5), UND 6 (Evers, Knox 2). Turnovers: MSU 11, UND 19. A: 1,352.

Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald