UND women hold off USD 54-51

That old feeling returned to the DakotaDome Saturday night for the University of South Dakota's matchup with the Fighting Sioux from the University of North Dakota.

The Coyotes and the Fighting Sioux closed out the storied history of the North Central Conference in 2008 as the cream of the league.

Now in NCAA Division I transitional status, the teams met in Great West Conference play with UND holding on to beat the Coyotes 54-51 in front of a rocking Dome crowd.

"They're a great team and we know they're going to bring it," said USD guard Annie Roche. "It was a great crowd and it brings some of those nostalgic feelings back."

"You have fans who are connected to both schools, and this game really means something to the players," said UND head coach Gene Roebuck. "With rivalries, we really don't have that in our league and that's what it should be all about."

The Coyotes, who trailed by 11 points early in the second half, had two chances to tie the game with a 3-pointer in the final seconds, but the inbound passes could not find a shooter.

UND's defense camped out in 2-3 zone that was intent on keeping the ball out of the paint and the hands of USD forward Amber Hegge. The Fighting Sioux were willing to let the Coyotes beat them from behind the arc.

Last Sunday, the Coyotes cruised to a 67-53 win over Seattle University against a 2-3.

"They just seem to get us back on their heels with their zone," said USD head coach Ryun Williams. "We saw that same zone against Seattle, and we had a little more fun with it; they were dedicating to Hegge and were guarding her with one and a half players."

"They're really tough to guard one on one," said Roebuck. "You pick your poison with them, and we wanted to force them to make baskets."

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