Women’s team split vs North Dakota

Zach Zannelli, Courier Staff

The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks women’s basketball team had a two-game series against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The first game on Friday night went to the Fighting Hawks as they beat the Fighting Leathernecks by a score of 79-57. North Dakota got off to a hot start as they had an end of the first quarter lead by a score of 18-8 and kept the lead at the half by a score of 39-28. The Fighting Leathernecks had a stronger start to the second half as they came a bit closer to cut the lead to 52-47 as North Dakota still had the lead and kept stretching as they had the better fourth quarter to claim their first victory of the season over the Fighting Leathernecks by a score of 79-57. The game leaders on North Dakota were Julia Fleeces, who was on the court for 31 minutes, scoring 19 points with two assists and 11 rebounds. She was 6-17 in field goals and 1-4 in three-pointers. Megan Zander was the other game leader in Friday’s matchup, as she was on the court for 20 minutes, scoring 16 points with five rebounds and one assist. She was 5-10 in field goals and was 2-3 in three-pointers. The game leaders on Western Illinois were Carla Flores, with 27 minutes on the court as she scored 14 points with two rebounds and one assist. She was 4-5 in three-pointers and  5-6 in field goals. Evan Zars was the other game leader on Western Illinois as she was on the court for 28 minutes, scoring 10 points with nine rebounds and one assist. She was 2-2 in three-pointers and 4-11 in field goals. That victory for North Dakota puts their record at (1-13) overall and (1-8) in the conference as they go up to the No. 8 seed in The Summit League standings as Western Illinois drops to (3-14) overall and (2-6) in the conference on the year as they remain the No. 7 seed in The Summit League standings. 

In Saturday’s matchup between the Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Western Illinois took the advantage as they beat North Dakota by a score of 83-74. North Dakota got off to another great start and a strong first half as they led the Leathernecks 22-17 at the end of the first quarter and 46-40 at the half. Then, the Leathernecks fought back with a stronger second half as they came back in the third quarter to lead the Fighting Hawks 61-57 and kept the end of the fourth quarter lead as the Leathernecks claimed the fourth victory of the year by a score of 83-74. The game leaders on Western Illinois were Danni Nichols, Grace Gilmore and Zars. Nichols had a great game as she scored 24 points with eight rebounds and two assists. She also was 2-3 in three-pointers and 7-10 in field goals. Gilmore also had a great game as she was on the court for 23 minutes and scored 17 points with four rebounds and two assists. She was 1-2 in three-pointers and 5-12 in field goals. Zars was the other game leader and was on the court for 34 minutes, scoring 14 points with 10 rebounds and two assists. She was 2-4 in three-pointers and 4-14 in field goals. North Dakota’s game leaders were Fleeces, Olivia Lane and Mikayla Reinke. Fleeces was on the court for 25 minutes, scoring 14 points with four rebounds and two assists. She was 1-2 in three-pointers and 5-10 in field goals. Lane was on the court for 24 minutes as she scored 10 points with six rebounds and one assist. She did not attempt a three-pointer and was 5-7 in field goals. Reinke was on the court for 34 minutes as she scored eight points with five rebounds and three assists. She was 2-2 in three-pointers and 2-6 in field goals. The victory for Western Illinois  keeps them at No. 7 seed in The Summit League standings as they jump to (4-14) overall and (3-6) in the conference on the year as North Dakota remains at the No. 8 seed in The Summit League standings as their record drops to (1-14) overall and (1-9) in the conference on the year.

The Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks will take on Omaha next weekend on the 5th and 6th with both games starting at 4 p.m. The North Dakota Fighting Hawks will face Denver in their next matchup next weekend on the 5th and 6th with the start times being TBD for both games.