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Eric Peterson, Published November 16 2012

Dragons women cruise past Minnesota-Morris in home opener

MOORHEAD – Marisa Yernatich was surprised when she first glanced at the final stat sheet Friday night at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“I honestly didn’t feel like I shot that well,” said the Minnesota State Moorhead senior with a smile.

Yernatich tied a career high with 23 points. Her performance helped spark the Dragons to a 93-60 victory against Minnesota-Morris in nonconference women’s basketball. The game was the home opener for MSUM.

“My teammates set really good screens,” said Yernatich, who has 42 points through two games this season. “I was open and knocked them down when I could.”

The Dragons (2-0) are headed to Hawaii for their next two games. MSUM plays in the Oahu Classic next Thursday and Friday against the University of Hawaii-Hilo and BYU-Hawaii. MSUM, which has nine freshmen on its roster, opens Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play on Dec. 1 at Northern State.

“I think the truth of the matter is for this group, I think, we need to keep seeing signs of improvement,” MSUM head coach Karla Nelson said. “There are just so many things that I see that we can get better at. Now, we need to keep taking little steps forward.”

Yernatich is one of the five veterans (juniors or seniors) on the roster. The 5-foot-9 guard made 8 of 12 shots from the field, including 4-for-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point stripe.

Yernatich will be leaned on to be one of the team’s primary scoring options as MSUM prepares for its conference season.

“She is playing with a lot of confidence,” Nelson said. “She has to be a little selfish for us to be successful, and I’m fine with that. I think the team understands that.”

The Dragons got off to a strong start against the Cougars, scoring the game’s first 15 points. Yernatich scored five points during that opening surge, including a 3-pointer from the right wing.

Freshman Leah Miller, a 6-2 forward, sank two foul shots to stake MSUM to a 15-0 lead with 15 minutes, 56 seconds to play in the first half.

That strong start vaulted the Dragons to a 49-29 halftime lead.

“I thought we played together, really well,” Yernatich said. “Overall, it was a good win.”

MORRIS (1-1): Wycoff 2-7 4-5 10, Fragodt 3-6 2-2 10, Kramer 1-7 0-0 2, Erickson 1-4 4-6 6, Mehr 3-12 6-7 13, Coomes 2-4 2-2 8, Auch 2-5 0-0 4, Peterson 0-0 0-1 0, Lewis 1-3 0-0 2, Becker 0-4 3-4 3, Bergstedt 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 15-53 23-29 60.

MSUM (2-0): Noreen 3-3 0-0 9, Charette 4-5 2-2 12, Yernatich 8-12 3-4 23, Handevidt 1-5 0-0 2, M. Strese 4-11 1-1 9, Roehrich 1-5 0-0 2, Thomforde 3-5 0-0 6, Boegeman 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 1-3 4-4 6, Zabel 4-10 2-2 12, Hebert 1-3 2-2 4, H. Strese 3-4 2-2 8. Totals 33-66 16-17 93.

Half: MSUM 49, UMM 29. 3-point goals: UMM 7-22 (Wycoff 2-3, Fragodt 2-4, Kramer 1-4, Erickson 0-1, Mehr 1-5, Coomes 1-3, Lewis 0-1, Becker 0-1), MSUM 11-25 (Noreen 3-3, Charette 2-3, Yernatich 4-8, Handevidt 0-1, Roehrich 0-4, Thomforde 0-1, Zabel 2-3, Hebert 0-1, H. Strese 0-1). Total fouls: UMM 14, MSUM 23. Rebounds: UMM 28 (Fragodt 8), MSUM 46 (M. Strese 7). Assists: UMM 7 (Lewis 4), MSUM 19 (three players with 3). Steals: UMM 7 (Wycoff 2), MSUM 10 (Yernatich 3). Turnovers: UMM 17 (Erickson 4), MSUM 17 (Charette 4). A-579.

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