The Bulldogs final weekend of the regular season ended in a split. Friday night, UMD claimed a blowout victory against conference foes University of Mary 73-40, but on Saturday night the team fell short to Minot State 56-77.
The Bulldogs finished with a regular season record of 10-12 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and 12-14 overall. The Bulldogs finished 12th in NSIC standings.
On Friday night, UMD forced U-Mary to turn the ball over 26 times, more than five times the number of assists U-Mary completed (5), but on Saturday night the team’s defense wasn’t as tenacious, allowing Minot State to shoot 52.5 percent from the field.
This past weekend outlines the ups and downs the team has experienced throughout this season.
Unfortunately, they won’t get an opening-round home game in the NSIC tournament with Saturday night’s loss. That also meant the team couldn’t send the seniors out on a winning note in front of the home crowd at the Romano Gym.
But the seniors on the team will remember the good experiences they had playing in front of the crowd at the Romano Gym.
“I will remember the excitement of our team on game days,” senior guard Danielle Flood said.
Senior guard Jessica Newman echoed that, saying she would miss playing in front of the local Duluth community and for the people in her hometown of Barnum, which is near Duluth.
This year the Bulldogs won 7 of their 13 home games; good enough for a winning home-record.
A couple of seniors on the team felt this season was a grind, but can take away life lessons from being a part of the program.
“I learned you have to work hard, even when no one is looking, and it will pay off,” Flood said. “I’ve also learned to never give up.”
“I learned time management as a student-athlete, and how to put my priorities in order,” Newman said.
The ups and downs of the season taught players such as Flood and Newman how to grow as not only teammates, but also as leaders, being the seniors on the team.
“I learned how to become a leader this season,” Flood said.
Even though the seniors on the team have played their last game at Romano Gym, they don’t feel their season is anywhere close to being over.
“I think going through the up and down struggles of the season together as a team sets us up for a strong postseason run,” Newman said.
The ladies know they have put in the time and the effort this season to be successful, and feel that if they can put together a full forty minutes of consistency, they will be a tough out for any NSIC team they play against, home or away.
The team currently has four seniors who would love to go out as conference tourney champs.
If the Bulldogs happen to lose on the road Wednesday against Augustana, it will end a four-year run for the seniors on the team.
“My advice to the underclassmen is to never take for granted the amazing opportunity it is to play college basketball in a Bulldog uniform,” Flood said.
“Don’t blink because it goes by really fast,” Newman said. “Put in the time and effort everyday while it lasts… because it doesn’t last forever.”
Augustana finished 14-8 in NSIC play.
The teams only met once this season, with UMD defeating Augustana 73-68 on January 17th at the Romano Gym, but Wednesday’s night game will take place at Augustana’s home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
BY ROD BLOCKER