GRAND FORKS, N.D-- Junior Lexi Klabo recorded her ninth career double-double on the way to a personal-best 29 points while adding 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots as host North Dakota dispatched Northern Iowa, 80-72, Saturday afternoon in non-conference play at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. Fallyn Freije also chipped-in with her fifth career double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) as the Fighting Hawks etched their fourth consecutive win.
UNI built a lead of 15-8 but the Fighting Hawks stormed right back with buckets by Lexi Klabo book-ending a Fallyn Freije three to knot the score at 15-all with two minutes and change remaining in the first.
The Panthers would lead by as many as nine in the first half, but North Dakota surged back again. UND went on a 10-2 run halfway through that second quarter to make it a manageable deficit but UNI led by four at the break after Garrison-Nickerson's buzzer-beating bucket before halftime.
In the third quarter, North Dakota was still in a seven-point hole until Morton and Klabo got things going again as the pair combined for the next nine UND points, trimming the margin to just a deuce. Later, Morton would strike again from deep to push North Dakota in front, 55-54.
The lead changed hands just one more time when Nicole Kroeger tripled to start the fourth for a 62-61 Panther edge. Morton answered on the next trip then Freije added a bucket as UND would stretch the lead to seven with 3:44 to go.
UNI had one final push, whittling the deficit down to a single point at 72-71 on Riley Wheatcraft's three but that would be UNI's final field goal and North Dakota was able to salt the game away from the free throw line and record an 80-72 win for its fourth straight.
North Dakota heads to ninth-ranked Baylor for a Tuesday contest. The game is set for a 7:00 p.m. start from Waco, Texas.
Notes: North Dakota has won all three meetings against UNI at the Betty ... Klabo was just two rebounds and one blocked shot shy of career bests in those categories as well ... She has piled up three double-doubles this season after six all of last year ... Freije made both of her triple tries Saturday and is now 4-of-7 from deep this season ... Freije's double-double was the fifth of her career, second this year ... Morton missed her career high in points by just five ... She's scored at least 16 points in three of her last four games, shooting 20-for-30 (.667) from the floor in those games that she achieved at least 16 points (all UND wins) ... Akealy Moton etched a new career high in her young career with six ... North Dakota out-rebounded the Panthers, 44-34, and has held the rebounding edge in all but one game this season ... During UND's four-game win streak, the Fighting Hawks are +64 in rebounds combined in those contests.