DENVER, CO – The University of Denver women’s basketball team started slow against North Dakota State on Saturday, but the Pioneer offense got things rolling, routing the Bison, 98-79.
DU improves to 11-8 and 2-2 in the Summit League, while NDSU falls to 7-11 and 0-4 in the Summit.
Lauren Loven guided the team to victory with 18 points. Three other Pioneers scored in double figures including Claire Gritt with 17, Grace White (Red Lake Tribe) with 13 and Jordyn Alt who added 12.
Denver as a team shot 42.1 percent from both the field (32-for-76) and behind the arc (16-for-38). DU’s 16 3-pointers are a season-high, beating the 15 they dropped against Chadron State.
The squad grabbed 46 total rebounds, handed out 20 assists and forced 18 turnovers from the Bison. Gritt led the team in rebounds with eight, while Ciera Morgan carded six assists.
North Dakota State’s offense got off to a good start, running out to a 7-2 edge.
DU was quick to respond, with four unanswered points from Alt and Samantha Romanowski.
Through the first five minutes, one point was as close as the Pioneers could cut the NDSU lead, as the Bison pushed the advantage to five points, 13-8.
With just about a minute to play in the first, Romanowski drained Denver’s first trey of the contest and slashed the North Dakota State margin to only three.
At the end of the first, the Bison continued to control the momentum, leading 21-16.
A 3 from White got DU going to start the second, as the team started the period on an 8-6 run.
NDSU was quick to regain momentum, as Taylor Thunstedt and Sarah Jacobson hit back-to-back treys.
Refusing to go away, Denver found its niche offensively, outscoring North Dakota State 14-2 over the next five minutes, thanks to 3s from Briana Johnson, White, and Alt.
A deep-shot from Gritt, followed by a free throw from Madison Nelson put the Pioneers up by eight at halftime, 47-39. The eight point margin was the biggest advantage DU held in the first half.
At the break, Alt scored a team-high 10 points. The senior shot 57.1 percent (4-for-7) from field-goal range and 50 percent (2-for-4) from downtown.
As a unit, the Pioneers shot 38.5 percent (15-for-39) from the field and 45 percent (9-for-20) from deep. The team also had 22 boards, 12 assists and seven steals.
The offense continue to roll for the Crimson and Gold into the second half, as the team outscored the Bison 5-2 to start the third period, pushing its lead to 11.
After North Dakota State cut the margin down to eight, Gritt scored two and drew a foul. Despite missing the free throw, the Pioneers got the ball back and Abi Curtin put up a triple, putting the squad back up by 11.
Just a few moments later, with NDSU down by only by only nine, DU used a 13-5 run, highlighted by 3s from Gritt and Loven to extended the advantage to 17 points, 72-55.
Not going away without a fight, North Dakota State outscored Denver, 5-2 over the final two minutes of the third, but the Crimson and Gold still held the lead, 76-60.
Continuing to chip at the edge, the Bison got within 12 points thanks to a Reilly Jacobson layup with just over seven minutes to play.
However, just minutes later the Crimson and Gold shut the door on NDSU, 86-68, thanks to a 6-0 run, capped by a Johnson layup.
The DU advantage was too much for North Dakota State to overcome, as 12 points was as close as they could get.
Denver returns to the court on Thursday, as they take to Omaha to face the Mavericks.