The matchup featured the two women's basketball programs
that had combined to win five of the last six regional titles - UND four from 1997-99
and 2001, and SDSU in 2002. UND had defeated the Jackrabbits twice earlier in
the season, including a 90-87 triumph in the championship game of the North
Central Conference Wells Fargo Finals a week earlier at Frost Arena.
The Jackrabbits grabbed an early 17-10 lead only to have UND
make three consecutive three-point attempts to lead 19-17 midway through the
A traditional three-point play by Shannon Schlagel gave SDSU
the lead for good at 20-19 and sparked an 18-2 Jackrabbit run that included
three baskets by tournament most valuable player Melissa Pater.
Leading 39-23 at halftime, the Jackrabbits would maintain at
least a 16-point lead the rest of the way.
A basket by Stacie Cizek with 5:25 remaining gave SDSU its
largest lead of the night at 25 points, 71-46.
Pater led all players with 28 points and 13 rebounds as the
senior forward connected on 9-of-13 shots from the field and 10-of-12 at the
free throw line. Schlagel posted 15 points and eight rebounds, while Cizek
ended the night with 13 points. Brenda Davis added six points and 10 rebounds
as the Jackrabbits held a 50-37 advantage on the boards.
The Jackrabbits won despite making only 2-of-16 three-point
attempts. Overall from the field, SDSU was 29-of-67, 43.3 percent, and made
17-of-23 free throw attempts, 73.9 percent.
UND was held to 32.3 percent shooting from the field,
20-of-62, including 7-of-25 from three-point range. At the line, UND was
9-of-13 at the line, 69.2 percent.
Marisa Leighton paced UND with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Becky Moen added 13 points.
The win up the Jackrabbits' record to 28-3 and propelled
them into the North Central Regional championship game two nights later against
the University of South Dakota.