Photos by Hillary Ehlen and Russell Hons
Lexi Klabo continues to move the Fighting Hawks forward.
Name a basketball honor in the state of North Dakota, high school or collegiate, and Lexi Klabo has probably won it. If she hasn’t, she was certainly in the conversation for whatever the award may be. First team all-state? Check, she actually did it twice. 1,000 points scored in her prep career? Check. Miss Basketball Finalist in North Dakota? Check. All-Big Sky Conference? Check. You get the idea.
Despite this being North Dakota’s first season in the Summit League, Klabo was picked as a preseason AllSummit League First Team performer. That alone should indicate just how good Lexi Klabo has been in her UND career. Now, she turns her attention to her final campaign in the green and white while continuing to stamp her name all over the program.
Not only that, given the statistics, it seems as though Klabo will continue to improve this season. She has seen her points and rebounds per game numbers increase steadily over the last three seasons. This culminated in a 2017-18 season where Klabo scored 19 points per game and snared close to 10 rebounds per game. Regardless of competition or level of basketball, averaging a near double-double is wildly impressive. However, it’s just another day at the gym for Klabo.
The best thing for Klabo is playing alongside five girls her age. With six seniors, this North Dakota roster is as cohesive as it has ever been. Klabo sees it in practice and on game days too. “It’s very special just going through what we’ve been through and being there for each other for four years. I think we’re all different people and I think we bring out the best in one another and make each other better every day,” she said. “They’re just genuine, fun people to be around so just being able to play on the court with them and play for UND with them is something very special.”
North Dakota Hoops Legend
- North Dakota Miss Basketball Finalist
- Two-time all-state selection
- Scored over 1,000 points in her high school career
- Has scored over 1,000 points in her UND career
Coach Travis Brewster says all six have their own leadership qualities that they bring to the table. This is what makes the team so successful from a chemistry perspective. For Klabo, she sees different qualities in her senior teammates as well. “I think we all bring something different to the table. Bailey will talk you through things and Faith is kind of our ‘get down to business’ kind of girl and then Jill leads by example,” she said. “I think we all kind of bring something different and it’s good and it doesn’t all come from one person. That’s good for our team and bringing everyone together.”
Klabo’s name is already found within the UND women’s basketball record book. She was 26th on the all-time scoring list coming into this season. Given her frequent improvement, it would not be shocking to see Klabo move into the top ten by season’s end. She is also found on the school’s all-time blocks list and could maneuver her way onto the all-time rebounds list too. Needless to say, she is arguably one of the best players to step onto North Dakota’s campus.
That does not mean too much for Klabo, who is focused on how this team will react to the new conference. A native of Fargo, Klabo grew up watching North Central Conference battles between North Dakota and North Dakota State, South Dakota State and South Dakota. Now, Klabo and the five other seniors have a chance to rekindle and relive those old rivalries at the Division I level.
“It’s very exciting. I kind of grew up watching those games and being a part of those atmospheres and seeing how special those teams were,” she said. “Just being able to travel down the road and play these teams and fans will be able to come, those are just special games and rivalries and old traditions and it’ll be super fun.”
What is more exciting for Klabo and the other Fighting Hawks seniors is the chance to play one more season with one another. Lexi Klabo is the pulse of this team, whether that be from a leadership or performance standpoint. When she is on, North Dakota women’s basketball is on. It has been that way for her entire basketball career and the proof is in her trophy case.