Hawks descend from Denver and sweep Summit League weekend – Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS – UND was 2-19 last season and placed ninth this year in the Summit League’s pre-season women’s basketball poll.
Really, there was nowhere to go except for the Fighting Hawks.
So UND took another step up the ladder on Saturday – beating Denver 80-75 at The Betty to move to 2-3 at the top and 8-8 overall. And the Hawks swept away their weekend home games and are now sitting in the middle of the top – perhaps a surprise to many after last season’s record.
“We’ve made great strides, looking at our record from last year,” said Olivia Lane of UND, who scored a career-high 25 points. “It’s amazing how well we are doing. We work well together. We have to feed each other and the chemistry is there. We are looking to finish strong in the conference.
UND led most of the way and used a 12-2 score to open the second half which resulted in a 48-35 lead. But Denver (0-4, 5-10) responded with a 9-0 push. However, the Hawks stabilized their game, receiving an outside jumper from Kacie Borowicz who gave UND a 50-44 lead. UND led the rest of the way and closed the win by making 5 of 6 free throws in the final 31 seconds. Borowicz, one of the top free throw shooters in Division I, made three while Lane finished the game with two more.
UND pulls 78.6 percent off the line – the best score at the top.
“We play free throws a lot and Kacie is amazing,” Lane said. “It’s like, ‘Give him the ball.’ She will do them. It is important for us to just relax and know that we can achieve these shots. “
Lane set the tone for the Hawks, scoring 10 of his points in the first quarter. Borowicz has been consistent throughout the course towards her 23-point effort and the Hawks also secured production from 6-foot-6 center Melissa Leet, whose mid-range jumper helped her finish with 17 points. . And Claire Orth added 13 – quite a few of those timely variety points. And Leet (11) and Lane (10) combined to give the Hawks a huge 47-29 advantage over the boards.
But it was the rebounds and free throws that made a big difference for the Hawks.
“Any coach will tell you that free throws and rebounds are how you finish and win close games,” said UND coach Mallory Bernhard. “Statistically, we are a very good free-kicking team. Haven’t watched it for a little while, but we’ve been in the top 30 free-kicking teams for a while.
UND won their last consecutive home games on Jan. 5-9, 2020. So the Hawks’ accomplishments over the past few days have been good. UND beat Omaha 71-57 on Thursday before the Mavericks proved home sweeps aren’t easy as they beat North Dakota State 68-54 on Saturday in Fargo.
“It’s good to have a little confidence, to get rid of the monkey,” said the UND coach. “It’s huge to have the sweep. It’s not easy to do in this league.
“We had two pretty close games this weekend. Each team is a difficult challenge. This one was a bit more difficult as it was a challenge. But we made some big plays, hit some big shots in the last two minutes and knocked down our free throws. “
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