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Eric Peterson, Published January 11 2014

MSU-Mankato women cruises to victory against Dragons

MOORHEAD – Minnesota State Moorhead senior Megan Strese scored her 1,000th career point less than two minutes into the game Saturday night at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The Dragons didn’t have much to cheer for after that.

Minnesota State-Mankato limited the Dragons to 21 percent shooting in the first half en route to a 13-point halftime lead. The Mavericks’ stinginess sparked an 85-57 victory in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women’s basketball.

“We could play Mankato 10 times and I’m not sure if we could beat them,” Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. “It’s disappointing that our effort wasn’t very good. You can control effort.”

The Dragons (9-5, 5-5 NSIC) had their three-game winning streak snapped. The Mavericks (10-4, 7-3) bounced back from a 79-63 loss at Northern State on Friday.

“We just weren’t a very tough team,” Mavericks head coach Emilie Thiesse said of Friday’s loss. “We needed to be a team that was dictating defensively, and we did that from the start (on Saturday). We got deflections and we got steals.”

The Mavericks forced 25 turnovers against MSU Moorhead, including 10 steals. The Dragons shot 29 percent (15 of 51) from the field.

“Mankato came out really aggressive and I felt like … we just didn’t set anything up to get open,” Nelson said.

The Mavericks seized control early in the first half with a 17-4 run that included stretches of eight and seven consecutive points. MSU-Mankato had six different players score during that stretch. Freshman guard Britney Scherber capped the game-changing rally with a short jumper that gave the Mavericks a 19-11 lead with 11 minutes to play in the first half. The Dragons scored only one basket from the field in the final 13 minutes of the opening half. MSU-Mankato took a 36-23 lead into halftime.

The Dragons made 5 of 24 shots from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

“Mankato came in with a good focus, kind of on a mission, and we just were a wreck,” Nelson said.

The Mavericks never saw their lead dip into second digits after halftime. MSU-Mankato started the second half on a 13-3 run to quickly push its lead into the 20s.

Sophomore forward Savanna Handevidt paced the Dragons with a career-high 17 points, including 8-for-9 shooting from the foul line.

MSU-MANKATO (10-4, 7-3 NSIC): Hoefer 1-4 2-4 5, Olson 1-7 2-2 5, Gegenbacher 3-8 1-2 7, Bresnahan 6-7 0-0 13, Wilkinson 4-12 4-4 13, B. Scherber 2-3 6-6 11, Davis 5-7 0-0 11, Delzotto 1-2 0-0 2, M. Scherber 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 1-5 1-2 3, Paulson 3-7 0-1 6, Ulfers 4-5 1-2 9. Totals 31-67 17-23 85.

MSU MOORHEAD (9-5, 5-5): Banasik 0-4 4-4 4, Thomforde 1-5 1-1 3, Zabel 0-5 4-6 4, Handevidt 4-9 8-9 17, M. Strese 2-7 2-3 6, Van Wyhe 2-3 0-0 4, Roehrich 2-10 2-2 8, Miller 2-2 0-0 4, H. Strese 2-6 2-3 7. Totals 15-51 23-28 57.

Half: Mankato 36, Moorhead 23. 3-point goals: Mankato 6-23 (Hoefer 1-2, Olson 1-5, Gegenbacher 0-2, Bresnahan 1-1, Wilkinson 1-2, B. Scherber 1-2, Davis 1-3, Delzotto 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Paulson 0-3), Moorhead 4-14 (Banasik 0-2, Thomforde 0-1, Zabel 0-2, Handevidt 1-2, Roehrich 2-5, H. Strese 1-2). Total fouls: Mankato 24, Moorhead 18. Fouled out: Miller. Rebounds: Mankato 37 (Wilkinson 11), Moorhead 41 (M. Strese 9). Assists: Mankato 22 (Hoefer 5), Moorhead 10 (Banasik 3, Miller 3). Steals: Mankato 10 (three players with 2), Moorhead 3 (three players with 1). Turnovers: Mankato 9 (Hoefer 2, Davis 2), Moorhead 25 (Thomforde 6). A-703.


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