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Published January 31, 2010, 12:12 AM

Sioux women win 4th straight Great West road game

Bagaason scores 20 to lifd UND past Houston Baptist 75-53

By: Christy Kramer, UND

HOUSTON — Senior Kayla Bagaason (G, Clearbrook, Minn.) registered her third 20-point game of the season to help the University of North Dakota defeat Houston Baptist 75-53 at Sharp Gymnasium. The victory moved the Fighting Sioux to 8-13 on the season and with a 4-1 Great West Conference record, they lead the seven-team league. The Huskies drop to 3-16, 1-3 GWC.

“It was a hard-fought game,” head coach Gene Roebuck said. “It was about as physical as last year, to put it mildly.

“We just have to be strong with the ball, hold onto the ball and make the plays.”

Bagaason was 4-for-5 from behind the arc in the opening half and finished the game 7-for-14 from the field and 4-for-9 at three-point range. She added eight rebounds (seven defensive), three assists, and three steals.

Bagaason was one of four Sioux players to finish in double-figures. Senior Jossy Bergan (G, Valley City, N.D.) shot 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and 3-for-4 at the charity stripe to finish with 15 points. She led the Sioux with six assists.

Senior Whitney Ledger (F, Bismarck, N.D.) and junior Corey Lof (G, Detroit Lakes, Minn.) added another 11 points apiece. Ledger was 2-for-3 from the field and 7-for-8 at the line. Lof shot 4-for-9 in the field and 3-for-4 at the charity stripe and added seven rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

“It is a very different team from last year as far as who is standing out,” Roebuck said. “Each game I see these players get better.”

The Huskies were led by Destini Texada with 17 points and Raquel Jones with 10 points - nine from three-point range.

“Our defense did a good job,” Roebuck said. “We contained them on the perimeter and forced them to shoot from inside.”

In the opening half North Dakota shot over 50 percent in all areas and had already made seven of its eventual nine three-pointers. They finished just under 50 percent (.490) in the field and .474 beyond the arc. A strong team at the free throw line, UND finished 16-for-20 (.800). The Huskies were held under 35 percent in the field and beyond the arc. The shot .563 (9-for-16) at the line.

North Dakota out-boarded HBU 41-29 with a 30-18 UND advantage on the defensive end.

The Sioux scored 24 points in the paint, 20 off of the bench, 17 on second chances and 14 following Husky turnovers.

North Dakota will take the week off before resuming conference play the second week of Feb. when it hosts NJIT (Feb. 11) and Chicago State (Feb. 13). Gametimes at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center are scheduled for 6 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

Houston Baptist scored the first four points on quick baskets by Texada and Taniqua Hollis. North Dakota answered with a field goal and a three-pointer to take a one-point lead, but a free throw and a bucket by Brittany Maxey pushed the Huskies back in front.

Trailing 7-5, Bagaason lit up at three-point range with back-to-back treys to give UND an 11-7 lead – the largest of the half thus far. The Huskies took a brief two-point lead, but a Bergan-Bagaason 8-0 run inside the 11-minute mark extended the Sioux lead to 24-17.

Bergan started the run with her second and the team’s fourth three-pointer of the game. Back on the other end of the court, Bergan came up with a defensive rebound and pushed the ball quickly up the floor. With two defenders trailing, she jump-stopped under the basket, turned and dished off to Bagaason, who drilled a jumper from the left side of the lane. On its next possession it was Bagaason who hit from the three-point line to give UND the seven-point lead.

The Huskies cut the Sioux lead down to one with help of consecutive three-pointers by Jones and Maxey. By that point, the 9:06 mark, the two teams had combined for 30 points behind the arc.

Out of a media timeout, North Dakota used a scramble play to regain the four-point lead. With two defenders trapping her on the side, freshman Nicole Smart (G, Ada, Minn.) lost control of her dribble. As the ball rolled past half-court, it looked as if HBU would take over, but Smart was able to nab the ball and dish-off to Bergan. With the shotclock at :03, Bergan crossed the half and then drained a quick three from the top of the key.

Jones answered with a three of her own and with baskets by Jamie Spriggs and Princess Jeanmard, HBU led 32-31 with 6:16 on the clock.

The Fighting Sioux scored the final two field goals of the half, but with two free throws apiece by Texada and Mele Leasau, the game went into the break with UND leading Houston Baptist 37-36.

Back out of the break North Dakota moved into a six-point lead much to the help of Bergan. She assisted the first two baskets, one by Lof and the other by Bagaason, and then closed the brief 5-0 run with a bucket of her own.

The Huskies cut the lead down to three, but productive plays by UND reserves Lof and Seay helped propel UND into a 60-44 lead over HBU. In seven minutes, Lof and Seay combined for eight points, four rebounds and two assists. Lof helped close the 11-0 UND run with a put-back, jumping up for the rebound and getting off the shot before coming back down to the floor at 8:58.

North Dakota held onto its double-figure lead through the remainder of the game and with just over a minute left to play, they had moved into a 71-51, 20-point lead.

In the final 1:17, Ledger scored six points, compared to the HBU three, to send UND away with a 22-point victory and a two-game conference sweep in Texas.

GAME NOTES: North Dakota leads the series against Houston Baptist 4-0 since Jan. 6, 2009 … Kayla Bagaason is just 51 points away from becoming the 28th member of UND’s 1,000 Point Club. She is now ranked No. 7 on UND’s career three-pointers made list with 156 after surpassing Jenny Hoffner who tallied 154 from 1997-01 … Jossy Bergan is now ranked No. 9 on UND’s career three-pointers made list with 151. She surpassed Tracey Pudenz who registered 147 from 1991-94 … North Dakota now holds an NCAA Division I transition record of 26-24 and a 4-1 record in the Great West Conference … Since the move the Sioux are 10-5 in the month of January and 7-4 when playing on a Saturday … The Fighting Sioux are 759-281 all-time and 583-117 under head coach Gene Roebuck … Current Great West Conference standings: North Dakota (4-1), Texas-Pan American (3-1), NJIT (3-1), Chicago State (3-2), South Dakota (2-3), Houston Baptist (1-3), Utah Valley (0-5).

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