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Eric Peterson, Published February 27 2013

Dragons women defeat Sioux Falls in first round of NSIC tournament

MOORHEAD – Kaycee Charette changed the game with her feet set around 25 feet away from the basket Wednesday night.

That’s how far out the Minnesota State Moorhead senior was when she scored a four-point play in the second half. That play capped a run that helped fuel the Dragons to a 62-50 victory against the University of Sioux Falls in the first round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women’s basketball tournament at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“Most people that shoot that deep, it would probably be an air ball,” Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. “But that’s Kaycee’s range, so you just never know.”

The Dragons (16-11) play at Minnesota State-Mankato at 4 p.m. Saturday in the NSIC quarterfinals.

“We wanted to play hard as a team,” said Charette, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds. “I knew this could be my last game.”

Sioux Falls sliced the Dragons lead to 43-40 after freshman Amber Paden scored an inside basket with 10 minutes, 12 seconds to play in the second half. MSUM countered with the next nine points. Charette capped that momentum-shifting stretch with her four-point play that gave the Dragons a 52-40 lead with 7:46 remaining.

“That was a huge play,” Nelson said. “I thought that was probably where we got the momentum back. We were just hanging on for dear life right there.”

Charette converted the deep four-point play with the shot clock running down.

“I just had to get my feet set, because I knew the shot clock was going down,” said Charette, who was 3-for-8 from 3-point range. “It felt good, but it was more just get that shot up quick. There is a chance that it could go in.”

The Dragons played from the lead for final 32 minutes thanks in part to a 12-1 run late in the first half that helped them build a double-digit halftime lead. Junior forward Morgan Zabel scored seven points during that stretch, including a 3-point play. Zabel capped the rally with two foul shots that gave MSUM a 30-17 lead with 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining in the first half. The Dragons took a 30-20 lead into halftime. Zabel had 10 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Zabel finished with a team-high 15 points off the bench. Four Dragons scored in double figures. Charette and junior post Megan Strese each finished with double-doubles. Strese had 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

“The way I look at it is we weren’t going to win a beauty contest tonight,” Nelson said. “We did just enough to get the job done. I think it was a good team effort.”

SIOUX FALLS (12-15): Aggen 0-6 2-2 2, Rushton 2-11 0-2 5, Strassburg 2-9 3-3 7, Johnson 7-10 1-2 19, Greathouse 1-6 2-4 4, Gebhart 0-0 0-0 0, Ulmer 0-5 1-2 1, Bouman 2-6 2-2 8, Molden 0-3 0-0 0, Paden 1-2 0-0 2, Hoff 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 16-61 11-17 50.

MSUM (16-11): Thomforde 3-9 0-1 8, Charette 3-8 3-3 12, Yernatich 4-12 0-0 10, Handevidt 0-1 0-0 0, M. Strese 5-12 3-6 13, Roehrich 1-2 2-2 4, Noreen 0-0 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Zabel 4-9 6-7 15. Totals 20-53 14-19 62.

Half: MSUM 30, USF 20. 3-point goals: USF 7-29 (Aggen 0-4, Rushton 1-7, Strassburg 0-2, Johnson 4-7, Ulmer 0-3, Bouman 2-4, Molden 0-1, Hoff 0-1), MSUM 8-22 (Thomforde 2-2, Charette 3-8, Yernatich 2-9, Roehrich 0-1, Zabel 1-2). Total fouls: USF 17, MSUM 17. Rebounds: USF 38 (Bouman 7), MSUM 48 (M. Strese 14). Assists: USF 9 (Rushton 3), MSUM 14 (three players with 4). Steals: USF 5 (Strassburg 2), MSUM 5 (Yernatich 2). Turnovers: USF 10 (Rushton 3), MSUM 13 (M. Strese 3). A-659.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com