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Eric Peterson, Published February 22 2014

University of Mary uses strong start to power past Dragons women

MOORHEAD – It took less than 10 minutes for the University of Mary to build a 22-point lead Saturday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

That start proved too much for Minnesota State Moorhead to overcome on its senior night.

The Marauders shot 54 percent from the field en route to a 78-62 victory against the Dragons in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women’s basketball.

“I think the composure we had and the aggressiveness,” said Mary head coach Rick Neumann. “I think we were sharp on both ends on the floor. I don’t know if we can get off to a better start.”

The Dragons (16-10, 12-10 NSIC) lost their second consecutive game on the heels of a six-game winning streak. MSUM is the No. 5 seed from the North Division for the NSIC tournament, which starts Wednesday at various home sites. The Dragons are slated to play at Augustana. MSUM had a chance to earn as high as the No. 2 seed from the North entering the weekend.

“It’s so disappointing but you have to move on,” Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. “What else are you going to do?”

The Dragons scored the game’s first three points before the Marauders countered with a game-altering surge. Mary scored 29 of the next 33 points to push into the lead for good. Freshman forward Hannah Larson helped fuel that rally with eight points during that stretch, including back-to-back 3-pointers. Senior guard Sudan Saunders capped the rally with a driving basket that staked Mary to a 29-7 lead with 10 minutes, 30 seconds to play in the first half.

“Defensively, we are just so poor right now,” Nelson said. “I feel like our energy level was bad.”

The Dragons made their best rally late in the first half, cutting the Mary lead to five points on two occasions. Sophomore guard Meghan Roehrich drained a 3-pointer that cut the Marauders lead to 39-34 with 49 seconds remaining in the half.

Mary answered with the final five points in the first half, including a Brittney Dietz 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. The Marauders took a 44-34 lead into the half, shooting 50 percent (8 of 16) from the 3-point line in the opening 20 minutes.

“It’s funny because I think when you play well, you’re a little lucky, and when you don’t play so well you’re not so lucky,” Nelson said. “We are not very lucky right now.”

The Dragons were unable to cut the Mary lead into single digits in the second half, trailing by as many as 20 points after halftime.

Senior point guard Lindsey Sand helped Mary protect the lead in the second half where she scored eight of her game-high 17 points. Sand also added a game-high eight assists and four rebounds.

“I thought Lindsey was the toughest player on the floor tonight,” Neumann said. “She was getting everyone organized on offense. … When Lindsey plays like that, we are a much better ball club.”

MARY (16-9, 14-8 MIAC): Sand 5-8 6-8 17, Larson 5-10 0-2 13, Foster 3-6 2-2 9, Murray 6-12 0-2 12, Dietz 4-8 2-4 12, Saunders 2-2 0-0 4, Clarke 2-2 0-0 5, Henningsgard 2-3 0-0 4, Turner 1-5 0-4 2. Totals 30-56 10-22 78.

MSUM (16-10, 12-10): Banasik 1-3 2-2 5, Thomforde 1-6 0-0 3, Zabel 3-11 7-7 13, Handevidt 2-6 0-0 5, M. Strese 4-14 2-3 10, Van Wyhe 0-3 0-0 0, Roehrich 3-8 2-2 11, Miller 2-3 0-0 4, H. Strese 4-9 2-4 11. Totals 20-63 15-18 62.

Half: Mary 44, MSUM 34. 3-point goals: Mary 8-19 (Sand 1-2, Larson 3-8, Foster 1-4, Dietz 2-4, Clarke 1-1), MSUM 7-19 (Banasik 1-2, Thomforde 1-2, Zabel 0-2, Handevidt 1-4, Van Wyhe 0-1, Roehrich 3-4, H. Strese 1-4). Total fouls: Mary 17, MSUM 17. Rebounds: Mary 39 (Turner 10), MSUM 37 (M. Strese 10). Assists: Mary 12 (Sand 8), MSUM 13 (Thomforde 6). Steals: Mary 4 (Foster 2), MSUM 3 (Zabel 2). Turnovers: Mary 12 (Saunders 3), MSUM 13 (Handevidt 3, M. Strese 3). A-922.

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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com