« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Eric Peterson, Published February 09 2013

Dragons women hold off Wayne State to earn conference victory

MOORHEAD – Minnesota State Moorhead never trailed in the second half Saturday against Wayne State, but Dragons head coach Karla Nelson never felt like her team had complete control.

“It was just kind of hold on to the rope and don’t let go,” Nelson said. “I think that’s what we did.”

Morgan Zabel scored the Dragons’ final eight points to help her team earn a 67-62 victory against the Wildcats in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women’s basketball.

Zabel drained 6 of 6 foul shots in the final 61 seconds. The 5-foot-10 forward finished with 18 points, nine rebound and eight assists.

“At the end of the game, we just try to get the ball in her hands,” Nelson said of Zabel. “I don’t want to jinx her, but it’s almost money.”

Zabel is shooting 91 percent (96 of 106) from the foul line this season.

The Dragons (14-8, 11-7 NSIC) have won seven of their past eight games, earning the weekend home sweep with the victory against Wayne State. MSUM also earned a 69-60 win against Augustana on Friday night.

“I think the chemistry on our team is getting better,” said Dragons junior Megan Strese, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. “We are working for each other and playing for each other.”

The Dragons had an 11-point halftime lead that they were able to protect throughout the second half. Wayne State, however, cut that margin to three points or less on numerous occasions.

“I thought we fought through it, kept our composure and kept our heads and just kept playing,” Strese said.

Wildcats sophomore Jordan Spencer scored an inside basket that cut the MSUM lead to 53-52 with 6 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the second half. That was as close as Wayne State would get. The Dragons countered with eight of the next 10 points. Zabel gave MSUM a 61-54 lead, scoring a driving basket with 1:47 remaining. Zabel added six consecutive foul shots after that driving hoop to protect the lead.

“It was just a matter of getting some stops in there,” Nelson said. “Wayne (State) executed so well, they almost scored on every possession it felt like. … We just gutted it out. It wasn’t pretty.”

The Dragons scored 22 of 30 points during one stretch in the first half to forge into the lead for good. The 6-foot Strese scored six points during that stretch with three baskets in the paint. Zabel sank two fouls shots complete the run, giving the Dragons a 31-20 lead with 2 minutes, 46 seconds to play in the first half.

“The thing that is nice about this group is they are proving people wrong and I think that’s a good thing,” Nelson said. “The right people are stepping up at the right time for us and I think that is key.”

WAYNE STATE (14-8, 10-8 NSIC): Yossi 2-11 2-4 6, Hansen 7-12 4-4 21, Roller 3-10 0-0 8, Spencer 6-15 5-8 17, Lehmann 3-6 0-0 6, Powell 0-1 0-0 0, VanDerSloot 1-1 0-1 2, Olson 0-2 0-0 0, Gerdes 0-0 0-0 0, Hoskins 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-59 11-17 62.

MSUM (14-8, 11-7): Thomforde 2-6 0-1 5, Charette 2-6 0-0 5, Yernatich 4-10 2-2 12, Handevidt 2-4 0-0 4, M. Strese 7-14 1-3 15, Roehrich 1-2 2-2 4, Noreen 1-1 0-0 3, Miller 0-1 1-2 1, Zabel 5-8 8-8 18. Totals 24-52 14-18 67.

Half: MSUM 35, WSC 24. 3-point goals: WSC 5-19 (Yossi 0-7, Hansen 3-5, Roller 2-4, Powell 0-1, Olson 0-2), MSUM 5-11 (Thomforde 1-1, Charette 1-4, Yernatich 2-5, Noreen 1-1). Total fouls: WSC 17, MSUM 13. Rebounds: WSC 32 (Hansen 6), MSUM 38 (M. Strese 10). Assists: WSC 14 (Yossi 5, Roller 5), MSUM 13 (Zabel 8). Steals: WSC 10 (Roller 4), MSUM 4 (four players with 1). Turnovers: WSC 13 (Hansen 4, Spencer 4), MSUM 16 (Yernatich 5).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com