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Forum staff reports , Published February 21 2014

Jones leads Minot State past Dragons women

MOORHEAD – Minnesota State Moorhead didn’t have an answer for Alisha Jones in the second half.

The Minot State senior scored 15 points after halftime while not missing a shot from the field. Her effort sparked the Beavers to a 79-56 victory Friday night against the Dragons in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women’s basketball at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

“These are the last few games of my career and I just wanted to go out there and play my hardest,” said Jones, who finished with a career-high 22 points for Minot State. “It just so happened the lanes were open for me.”

MSUM (16-9, 12-9 NSIC) had its six-game winning streak snapped. The Dragons need a home win tonight against the University of Mary to assure a No. 4 seed from the North Division for the NSIC playoffs. Entering Friday, MSUM had a chance for the No. 2 seed.

“I thought Minot played very well,” Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. “I felt like energy, all the things you need to have for a game of this magnitude, we didn’t have any of them. We didn’t defend. We didn’t have any presence on the offensive end.”

Jones was 7-for-7 from the field in the second half, including one 3-pointer. The 5-foot-7 point guard scored most of her points off quick drives to the basket. Jones also had a game-high five assists.

“We didn’t have anyone who wanted to play any defense against her, but you have to give her credit,” Nelson said. “She got to the rim or kicked it out and someone hit a shot.”

The Dragons were within striking distance early in the second half. Senior post Megan Strese sank a free throw that cut the Minot State lead to 39-34 with 17 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the game.

The Beavers countered with a 13-3 run that pushed their lead into double digits for good. Jones sparked that stretch with six points, all coming off drives to the basket. Sophomore forward Savana Kingsbury capped the surge with an inside basket that gave Minot State a 52-37 lead with 12:50 remaining.

“I just came with a head-strong mentality,” said Jones, who is a junior college transfer in her second season at Minot State. “I take away how hard this team can play.”

Minot State made 59 percent (16 of 27) of its shots from the floor after halftime, while the Dragons shot 29 percent (6 of 21) from the field in the second half.

“We stayed with our defensive mentality that we had,” Jones said.

Strese finished with 14 points, making 4 of 9 shots from the field. She was the only Dragons player to score in double digits. All five Minot State starters scored in double figures.

The Dragons have their final game of the regular season at 4 p.m. today against the Marauders. Nelson said MSUM is going to lean on its seniors to bounce back.

“You have to have character,” Nelson said. “It’s going to start with Megan Strese, Morgan Zabel and Haley Thomforde. If they don’t show up, it isn’t going to happen.”

MINOT STATE (18-7, 14-7 NSIC): Klose 4-7 0-0 10, Hardy 7-14 0-0 16, Jones 10-14 0-1 22, Ca. Boag 5-11 4-6 14, Ch. Boag 2-6 8-8 13, Sansaver 0-0 0-0 0, Kingsbury 2-4 0-0 4, Rice 0-1 0-0 0, Denton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-58 12-15 79.

MSUM (16-9, 12-9): Banasik 2-4 1-2 6, Thomforde 1-3 1-2 3, Zabel 1-6 7-8 9, Handevidt 2-5 1-2 5, M. Strese 4-9 6-7 14, Van Wyhe 1-4 1-2 3, Roehrich 1-7 7-7 9, Miller 1-1 0-0 2, H. Strese 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 15-44 24-30 56.

Half: Minot 35, MSUM 28. 3-point goals: Minot 7-16 (Klose 2-5, Hardy 2-2, Jones 2-5, Ch. Boag 1-4), MSUM 2-16 (Banasik 1-2, Zabel 0-2, Handevidt 0-2, Van Wyhe0-2, Roehrich 0-5, H. Strese 1-3). Total fouls: Minot 18, MSUM 12. Rebounds: Minot 30 (Ca. Boag 12), MSUM 28 (M. Strese 7). Assists: Minot 14 (Jones 5), MSUM 7 (Zabel 2). Steals: Minot 8 (Ca. Boag 3), MSUM 6 (Banasik 2, Handevidt 2). Turnovers: Minot 11 (Jones 4), MSUM 16 (Banasik 3, Zabel 3). A-702.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com