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Hitting The Hardwood: Women’s Basketball Preview

Get prepared for the hoops season with this women’s basketball preview.

Women's basketball preview

Photos by Russell Hons Photography

Get prepared for the hoops season with this women’s basketball preview.

The Schedule

*Starred games are considered to be marquee games by Fighting Hawks Magazine.

* NOV 6 at Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.) 2:00 p.m.

NOV 11 at Valparaiso (Valparaiso, Ind.) 1:00 p.m.

* NOV 14 at Illinois State (Normal, Ill.) 7:00 p.m.

* NOV 21 at Penn State (University Park, Pa.) 1:00 p.m.

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NOV 27 at Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.) 6:00 p.m.

NOV 28 at Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.) 4:00 p.m.

* DEC 4 at Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa) 7:00 p.m.

DEC 7 vs Milwaukee (Grand Forks, N.D.) 11:30 a.m.

* DEC 9 at Iowa State (Ames, Iowa) 12:00 p.m.

DEC 12 vs Mayville State (Grand Forks, N.D.) 7:00 p.m.

DEC 19 at Stetson – Hatter Classic (DeLand, Fla.) 12:00 p.m.

DEC 20 – Western Michigan – Hatter Classic (DeLand, Fla.) 2:00 p.m.

DEC 21 – San Francisco – Hatter Classic (DeLand, Fla.) 12:00 p.m.

DEC 30 vs Purdue Fort Wayne (Grand Forks, N.D.) 1:00 p.m.

JAN 2 at Oral Roberts (Tulsa, Okla.) 7:00 p.m.

JAN 5 at Denver (Denver, Colo.) 8:00 p.m.

JAN 9 vs Omaha (Grand Forks, N.D.) 7:00 p.m.

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JAN 13 vs Western Illinois (Grand Forks, N.D.) 2:00 p.m.

* JAN 18 vs South Dakota State (Grand Forks, N.D.) 7:00 p.m.

* JAN 20 at North Dakota State (Fargo, N.D.) 1:00 p.m.

JAN 24 vs South Dakota (Grand Forks, N.D.) 7:00 p.m.

FEB 1 at Western Illinois (Macomb, Ill.) 7:00 p.m.

FEB 3 at Omaha (Omaha, Neb.) 2:30 p.m.

* FEB 7 vs North Dakota State (Grand Forks, N.D.) 7:00 p.m.

* FEB 9 at South Dakota State (Brookings, S.D.) 2:00 p.m.

FEB 16 vs Oral Roberts (Grand Forks, N.D.) 2:00 p.m.

FEB 23 vs Denver (Grand Forks, N.D.) 11:00 a.m.

FEB 28 at Purdue Fort Wayne (Fort Wayne, Ind.) 4:00 p.m.

* MAR 2 at South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.) 1:00 p.m.

MAR 9-MAR 12 – Summit League Tournament (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

The Players

The Fighting Hawks return 10 players from the 2017-18 team. They will also welcome five incoming freshmen and one transfer. Perhaps most important of all, North Dakota will feature six seniors, all of which have seen extensive playing time for the Fighting Hawks.

Preseason Recognition:

  • The Fighting Hawks were picked to finish sixth in their inaugural Summit League preseason poll.
  • Lexi Klabo was named to the Preseason All-Summit League First Team.
  • Klabo was also named to the Cheryl Miller Award watch list.

Top Returners

Women's basketball player Lexi Klabo
Senior Lexi Klabo was named to the Preseason All-Summit League First Team.

Lexi Klabo
Senior
Fargo, North Dakota
Klabo averaged 19 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season. She was also efficient from the field, shooting an impressive 51 percent overall. Klabo was named to the All-Big Sky First Team at the end of 2017-18. She has not only cemented herself as the key contributor for UND but is also one of the more dominant post players in all of women’s college basketball.

Women's basketball player Jill Morton
Senior Jill Morton scored in double-figures 14 times last season.

Jill Morton
Senior
Edina, Minnesota
Morton was one of the most reliable offensive and defensive players for the Fighting Hawks last season. She shot a solid 39 percent from the field while also scorching the net from beyond the arc 33 percent of the time. This led to her scoring in double figures 14 times in 2017-18 and she ended the season averaging over 10 points per game. She also led the team with 31 total steals and was one of two players to start all 30 games for UND.

Women's basketball player Mwelissa Dailey
Melissa Dailey helps make up a class of six North Dakota seniors.

Melissa Dailey
Senior
Portland, Oregon
The senior comes off a season where she led the Fighting Hawks in total assists and three-pointers made. She also made 35 percent of the three-point shots she attempted. While she scored in double figures 11 times last year, she averaged just under nine points per game. That mark was still fourth best on the roster.

Women's basketball player Bailey Strand
Bailey Strand netted 34 triples in 2017-18.

Bailey Strand
Senior
Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Strand has been regarded for her ability to shoot the three-point shot. She netted 34 triples in 2017-18 en route to a season where she averaged roughly five points per game. The numbers may not jump off the page entirely, but Strand should see an expanded role coming into this season.

Women's basketball player Faith Dooley
After a standout volleyball career at UND, Faith Dooley has used the last of her athletic eligibility on the hardwood.

Faith Dooley
Senior
Wheatland, North Dakota
Perhaps one of the greatest female athletes in UND history, Dooley concluded an unreal volleyball career last season. She joined the basketball team at mid-season, using her final year of eligibility playing basketball. Only playing in 22 games, Dooley blocked 17 shots, which was second-best on the team. Considering she has the career record for blocks on the volleyball court, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that Dooley will play a vital defensive role in 2018-19.

The Coach

Women's basketball coach J. Travis Brewster
Head coach J. Travis Brewster enters his seventh season as head coach at North Dakota.

J. Travis Brewster is heading into his seventh season as head coach at North Dakota and his 16th season with the program. With a career mark of 101-86, Brewster has won Big Sky Coach of the Year honors twice (2014, 2017). Brewster led the Fighting Hawks to an NCAA Tournament bid in 2014 after a 22-10 record. In 2016-17, UND received a Women’s NIT bid after going 20-11 on the season. In his tenure, Brewster has led the Fighting Hawks to 20 or more wins twice and has had four of his six seasons coached result in an above .500 record.

Brewster By The Year

  • 2017-18 – 12-18 (5-13)
  • 2016-17 – 20-11 (15-3) – Women’s NIT
  • 2015-16 – 19-14 (13-5) – Women’s Basketball Invitational
  • 2014-15 – 17-15 (9-9) – Women’s Basketball Invitational
  • 2013-14 – 22-10 (15-5) – NCAA Tournament Berth
  • 2012-13 – 11-18 (6-14)
  • Six Season Totals: 101-86 (63-49 in conference)

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Written by Nolan Schmidt

Nolan is the Editor of Fighting Hawks Magazine. He is originally from Bismarck, ND and is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead. Outside of work, Nolan loves to write fiction short stories, among other things.

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