SUPERIOR, Wis. — The Cougars and the Yellow jackets.
Both teams standing strong within the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference’s women’s basketball title race.
One team lays a six-game winning streak on the line. The other look to keep its conference home game record unblemished.
UMAC officials sited the contest as the conference’s “Game of the Week.”
All the storylines were there, and through the first half of play it looked like the University of Minnesota Morris was going to be in good position to land a blow to the University of Wisconsin-Superior that hasn’t been felt since the program joined the conference in 2015.
Then the Yellow jackets continued to play their game.
Failing to overcome a 27-8 third quarter scoring advantage, the Cougars’ saw their six-game UMAC streak – and five straight wins – snapped with a 71-50 loss to UW-Superior Saturday.
The Cougars traded blow with the jackets for much of the first half. In fact, after a quarter of play, the Cougars trailed by just a single point, 19-18. The Jackets were able to maintain a two-possession lead on Minnesota Morris for much of the second quarter. A key reason the Cougars were able to stay within striking distance was largely due to the play of forward Kendra Raths, guard Lexus Eagle Chasing and Elli Stevenson.
In 15 minutes of action, Raths went 3-of-5 from the floor for seven points and grabbed four rebounds. Eagle Chasing also scored seven points after going a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor in the first half while Stevenson lead the Cougars with nine points. For the game, Raths and Eagle Chasing were the top performers for Minnesota Morris, scoring 17 and 11 points respectively. Aside from the trio of Raths, Eagle Chasing and Stevenson, a key to the Cougars maintaining the ability to stay within striking distance was the ability to connect from the floor, going 12-of-22 in the first half.
The third quarter was one the Cougars wish they could forget entirely.
After Kendra Raths’ jumper at the 8:55-mark of the third quarter, the Cougars went ice cold. Meanwhile, the Yellow jackets went red hot. In fact, before the Senior’s pair of free throw attempts at the 3:46-mark of the third quarter, UW-Superior went on a 15-0 run to extend the lead to 21 points. The biggest struggle for the Cougars was the inability to win on the glass, being out-rebounded 37-26 which included a 13-8 disadvantage with offensive rebounds. In fact, when it came to points of turnovers, 2nd chance points, bench points and points in the paint, the Cougars were outperformed.
The fourth quarter was better for the Cougars, outscoring the Yellow jackets 13-10, but were unable to dig out of the devastating third quarter.
The Cougars (10-7, 7-2 UMAC) will be back in action on Jan. 22 with a home non-conference match up against Trinity Bible College. Tip-off is set for 5 :30 P.M.
SUPERIOR, Wis. — After starting 2019 off on a high note, the last few contests have been rough for the University of Minnesota Morris men’s basketball team, losing their last UMAC contest.
Saturday, the Cougars traveled to Superior in a rematch of the Cougs’ 84-77 win over the Yellow jackets back on Dec. 8.
The last time the two teams faced UW_Superior was able to stay within striking distance for much of the game due to the ability to shoot from long range.
This time around it wasn’t the longe range attempts that kept it close, but rather just Jackets’ shooting in general.
Shooting 50 percent from the floor, UW-Superior managed to pull away from the Cougars late for a 72-67 win, extending Minnesota Morris’ conference losing streak to three games.
The Cougars traded blows with the Yellow jackets for much of the first half. In fact, they were able to stay within a possession for the first few minutes of the first half. However, after Jeffrey Halverson’s layup at the 14:47-mark of the first half tied the game at 10-10, UW-Superior started to heat up. The Jackets would break the game open to a 24-17 contest until Trent Jerome’s jumper sparked the Cougars.
Minnesota Morris chipped away at the lead for much of the final five minutes of the first half and eventually crawled back to within a one possession game after Trey Heinsuis knocked down a trey after receiving a pass from James Pendleton. Just a possession later, Nick Peterson gave the game its second tie of the evening with 2:13 left in the first half. Minnesota Morris would capture its first lead of the game after Jeremy Halverson connected on a free throw attempt with a minute left.
The second was almost identical to the first half as both squads were unable to lengthen any lead, staying within a possession or two of each other. The Jackets were able to jump out to the early lead, but the trio of Noah Grove and the Halverson brothers were able to crawl the Cougars back into striking distance. The final ten minutes of the contest may in fact by the best basketball the Cougars have played down the stretch, particularly from the starting five. Jeremy Halverson, Jeffrey Halverson, Heinsuis and Grove all played close to 30 minutes and reached double figures for the Cougars with Jeffrey Halverson scoring a team-high 16 points. In fact, of the Cougars’ 67 points, 59 came from the starting five. Heinsuis finished with 11 points while Grove and Jeremy Halverson scored 15 and 10 points respectively.
The Cougars would take their final lead of the contest at 63-60 with 2:50 left in the second half before the Yellow jackets rallied.
Minnesota Morris (6-10, 4-4 UMAC) will be back in action Tuesday with a home contest against Trinity Bible College. Tip-off is set for 7:15 P.M.