Things started off with a brief opening spurt as Moody hit the opening three and Hal followed up with an inside shot. For the next few minutes things were pretty ugly offensively as the ladies had several misses and UND stayed in it with free throws. What I liked early was the movement. This team is quicker and the players are moving around. What caught my eye early on was just how quick to the hole SJ is. She has very good body control. She would drive the lane several times today and it's really fun to watch. State would slowly creep out to a small lead while essentially holding NDU scoreless from the field for the first 4 minutes. The defense looks pretty solid. You could see the problems what height will have for us on a few occasions as the taller NDU girls could beat our smaller guards for straight up rebounds. Pure hustle will definitely help overcome that type of edge though. Through the first five minutes you could see Hal is undoubtedly the heart and soul of this team. She was doing a little bit of everything getting boards, hitting free throws and playing solid defense. Something else that is fun to watch is Brynn playing defense. She has such good lateral movement. It's very hard to drive on her as she is quick and cuts off the drive practically before it starts. Through the first eight minutes this thing was no offensive thing of beauty. Lots of missed shots and this led to UND actually pulling back and even taking the lead at 13-12. Of course Kidd answered right back with a three so it was short lived. After a nice feed by Jadda, Kidd would hit another 3 to extend the lead to 18-13. You have to hope that we can find more than one three point threat from this guard court as I've yet to see any consistency from the others. UND was working hard to try to keep up with Hal and it resulted in several fouls. Hal was constantly moving and working like a true post. The ladies would have numerous chances throughout the half to go to the line. The person I will be keeping my eye on early this season is Maddie. She came in for the first time with about 10 minutes left in the first half. Still not a thing of beauty but both teams were doing just enough to keep it interesting. Hal would hit a three to put State up 24-15. Another small observation, the refs are doing a pretty good job of calling the hand checks. They were calling it both ways pretty evenly. After starting hot, the outside threes started to miss and the rebounding of NDU would allow them to nearly erase the 11 point lead and close within 4 with about 7 left. The offense was going through one of our frustratingly patented cold streaks from the field. Additionally, the zone defense was not reacting well to the ball and NDU went on an offensive tear to make things more than a bit nerve wracking. So the first half had its fits and spurts and fortunately, NDU started missing and the ladies extended their lead at the half to 12 (47-35). It's been one half and a few conclusions can be made. The zone defense (which we went to when several players got into foul trouble) needs a lot of work. We were slow to react quite a few times. Second, there are definitely going to be times when our lack of depth will hurt. The second half started with two quick ISU scores and Brynn picking up her third foul. Fouls appeared to be a potential problem. The first four minutes consisted of miss after miss for NDU. Unfortunately Moody would also pick up her third foul during this time. In the midst of all the misses the Sisters were able stretch the lead to 18 (54-36) as NDU had one free throw to its name. The half was just a pretty ugly experience to watch. Missed threes, more fouls and a lead that stayed between 14-18 points for quite some time. Moody picked up her 4th foul with 10 left in the game. For once, I didn't fear what the guards were going to do. Jadda had played a solid game handling the ball and my confidence is growing in what she can do. The real spark for this team so far this year has been Kidd. It seems she is hustling all over the place and hits key shots when we need them. With Moody out she really picked up her game. I like her grit and hustle. Will she be that most valued sixth "man" this year? The foul trouble led to ISU having a lineup on the court consisting of an unlikely lineup of Jadda Seanna, Baier, Kidd, and Ellis. They definitely did enough to hold their own. It's these games that will really pay dividends down the road. They were able to put the lead to 20 after the NDU coach got a technical. Nothing to write home about...more a "I'm fighting for my team" type of thing. When it was all said and done the ladies had earned a not so pretty 84-55 victory to move to 1-0 on the season. Lots to work on yet and fortunately we have some games coming up that will allow the ladies to do just that. Next up, the other directional Dakota team comes to town on Wednesday. Game notes. POG. Of course it's the all everything Hal. She had a career day from the field scoring 32 points and pulling in 11 boards. Very nicely done. Others to note...of course Kidd. 14 points and 10 strong boards. Love it! Baier watch. 2 points and three boards. Free throws. While we didn't make more than NDU attempted, the ladies shot pretty well from the line. This will pay dividends. Again hitting a beautiful 78% as a team. Fouls. This is the first time I've seen the team commit so many fouls and I'm sure much has to do with the new rules. Three point shooting. Not good. Way too many misses. 29% for the night. This area has to get better. The lane. I think I saw more drives down the lane for scores in this game than I did all last season. Speed kills. Missing link...on the offensive end it was Brynn. She was 0-4 from the field. She has got to step it up.