Photos by Russell Hons/UND Athletics
The North Dakota women’s basketball team wrapped up its 2017-18 season. Anticipation for next year is already starting to hit. An impressive class of nine seniors will lead the Fighting Hawks hoping to make a splash in their first season in the Summit League.
1. Veteran presence
Nine juniors were on this year’s Fighting Hawks roster: Melissa Dailey, Jill Morton, Grace Sawatzke, Faith Dooley, Megan Dailey, Bailey Strand, Kaila Burroughs, Lexi Klabo and Fallyn Freije. A team’s success is often times determined by how well their senior class or upperclassmen perform. North Dakota will have no shortage of veterans on the court and coming off the bench next season.
2. Returning points
Not only is the experience returning, but the impact players are as well. The top six scorers all return, including double-digit points per game performers in Klabo, Freije and Morton.
3. Lexi Klabo
Klabo had a terrific junior season, almost averaging a double-double in points and rebounds. The 6-foot-2 forward will continue to be a huge focal point for the North Dakota offense.
4. Protecting the rim
The Fighting Hawks averaged about 4.1 blocks per game and 3.8 per game in conference play, which ranked fourth. Klabo was key on the defensive end, totaling more than 60 blocks. Along with Dooley, a 6-foot-3 center, North Dakota should be tough to score on inside the paint next season.
5. The youngsters
The nine seniors will see a lot of action on the court. But with no sophomores on this year’s team, the current freshmen will have to step into big roles to add depth. The potential is there. Melissa Leet is a 6-foot-5 presence and Mikayla Reinke, Julia Fleecs and Akealy Moton all earned valuable playing time this season.