(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography)
Grand Forks, North Dakota– Coming into a key Saturday matchup, their second to last home game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center this season, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks needed a win to get back in to top-half contention in Summit League play. They were not able to pull ahead of their opponent, Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles flew past UND 80-58 lead by 35 points from Lakota Beatty. She put together a superb outing including going 6-8 from the three point line and helping stymie any instance of momentum UND tried to build.
Beatty had one instance in the first half where she connected on two straight threes combined with the Fighting Hawks trying to force the issue by getting a pass to a heavily guarded Lexi Klabo. That six point swing took the lead for the Golden Eagles to 16 and forced UND to play outside of their game the rest of the way.
Lexi Klabo lead the way for UND with 24 points. She was the only Fighting Hawk to reach double figures. UND never lead in this game and was unable to adjust to counter Beatty or anything else on offense that the Golden Eagles were able to do. In addition, Head Coach Travis Brewster noted that the team has to spread the offense out a bit more. Because UND does not have a strong three point shooting game this season, teams have been able to double or triple team Klabo on a consistent basis. Tonight that was no different as that ability to collapse with help side defense on Klabo was a key component in the win for Oral Roberts.
UND finished with 20 turnovers on the evening as the Golden Eagles earned 12 steals on the night. A lot of those came on passes into Klabo in heavy traffic. Finally, look for UND to take some positives from this one. They play a strong outside shooting team in Denver and will look to learn some things on defending the three point shot a bit better. While they were able to get Klabo looks, this team needs to get more players involved. When teams are able to triple team your best player, and others do not knock down more shots then results typically do not trend to you. The most field goals made after Klabo’s eight were three by Faith Dooley.
As to Oral Roberts, for a young team with minimal veteran leadership, for them to come up to North Dakota and earn a 22 point victory was impressive. While South Dakota is the class of the Summit League, a hot shooting Golden Eagles squad lead by Beatty could surprise some folks in Sioux Falls. For a team with only three seniors (two of them being fifth year seniors) the Golden Eagles all played like seasoned veterans today.