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Cougars claw their way to UMAC Championship

Maja Coomes and teammates are all smiles after Coomes hit a buzzer beating three pointer to send the Cougars into the locker room ahead 33-29 over the Martin Luther College Knights in the semifinals of the UMAC Tournament.

UMM Sports Information

The University of Minnesota, Morris (17-9) will play for the UMAC Championship on Saturday, March 1 in Morris, thanks to a 66-56 win over No. 4 seeded Martin Luther (13-13). This will be the first home UMAC Championship game since the 2010-11 season. The game will tip at 7 p.m. against No. 2 seed Northwestern.

It took a while for both teams to get on the scoreboard on Thursday night and when the Cougars did, it came from an unlikely source. Abby Fragodt, whose season high was eight points coming into the day, scored the first seven points for the Cougars.

Morris trailed 12-7 with fewer than 14 minutes to play in the half when another Cougar stepped up her offensive game. Maja Coomes scored the next five points before Kayla Kraemer and Kendra Wycoff scored, pulling UMM to within one.

Coomes gave the Cougars their second lead of the game by hitting a three pointer with 6:59 left in the first half. After the Knights grabbed that lead back, Coomes countered with another three giving UMM a 24-22 lead.

The lead bounced back and forth in the final few minutes of the half, but the Cougars finished on a 6-2 run, taking a four point lead into the locker room. Coomes had 14 first half points, including a three pointer just as time expired.

The lead jumped up to nine quickly out of the break and with 13:43 left Morris held a 46-33 lead over the Knights. Morris held Martin Luther without a field goal for over five minutes in the second half, which helped propel them to their 13 point lead. Martin Luther never recovered and could not pull any closer than eight the rest of the game.

Minnesota Morris had 22 points off the bench compared to just six from the Knights. Morris also picked up 26 points in the paint. Both teams struggled from the field but Morris did hit nine three pointers and outshot Martin Luther 39.1 percent to 30.0 percent. It was the eighth lowest shooting percentage by a UMM opponent on the season.

Wycoff finished with a team high 15 points and Coomes finished with 14-one shy of her career high. Abby Fragodt had a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds. Fragodt now has over 900 career rebounds. Emily Auch added eight points and eight rebounds.

The Cougars are back in the action on Saturday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. as they tipoff against Northwestern. The winner of that match will earn the UMAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Brooke Kern

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