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UM-Morris hits nine-game win streak

Kendra Raths shoots a three during the UMAC match up against Northwestern Saturday, Jan. 7 in Morris. A day prior, Raths had a team high 16 points against North Central Friday, Jan. 6. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)

The University of Minnesota, Morris went 2-0 over the weekend in womens basketball action. The Cougars stretched their winning streak to nine games with wins over North Central and Northwestern to close out a perfect 6-for-6 homestand.

RELATED: Cougars extend streak to seven, college women's basketball, UM-Morris athletics

After a 0-4 start to the season, UMM has really turned things around midway through and will likely contend for the UMAC title Friday, Jan. 13 at UW-Superior, who is also undefeated at 6-0 in the UMAC.

UM-Morris 81, North Central 47

The Minnesota Morris women returned to UMAC basketball action Friday, Jan. 6 by entertaining North Central in Morris. Kendra Raths led five Cougars in double figures with 16 points to help run the team's win streak to eight with an 81-47 victory over the Rams.

Bailey Miller goes up for two points against Northwestern. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Raths added seven rebounds, four assists, and seven blocks to go with her 16 points. Mauren Thiesen drained four three’s to aid her 14-point effort. Elli Stevenson totaled 13 points and five assists. Abby Van Kempen recorded another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Bailey Miller added 10 points.

The Cougars overcame a sluggish start quickly. Trailing by four early, Van Kempen's three midway through the first quarter gave UMM a lead it would not relinquish. Miller followed with another three as the Cougars ended the quarter on a 16-2 run to take an 19-8 lead in the second quarter.

Minnesota Morris had another impressive closing to the second quarter, ending it on a 10-2 run as the Cougars doubled up the Rams on the scoreboard, 44-22, at the half.

The Cougars' lead would grow to as high as 40 in the second half as they would cruise to the 34-point win.

UM-Morris 75, Northwestern 49

The home court has been very nice to the Minnesota Morris women's basketball team.

The Cougars completed a perfect 6-for-6 homestand with a convincing 75-49 win Saturday, Jan. 7 over Northwestern. The win keeps the Cougars undefeated in conference play at 6-0.

Jordan Halvorson goes up strong for this shot against Northwestern. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Minnesota Morris used an early spurt to put together a double-digit first quarter lead Friday night against North Central and the Cougars used the same formula on Saturday. After spotting Northwestern the game's first five points, the Cougars went on a 20-2 run to take a 13-point advantage late in the first quarter. Abby Van Kempen came off the bench to provide a spark as she collected seven points and grabbed six boards in the spurt. The Eagles countered with a mini-spurt of 8-2 to close out the quarter though to make it 22-15 going into the second quarter.

It was Bailey Miller who provided a punch off the bench in the second quarter. She connected on back-to-back threes to push the Cougars lead back over double digits at 35-24 halfway through the stanza. The lead got to 15 by halftime following a Mauren Thiesen lay-in in the closing seconds.

The Cougars outscored Northwestern 19-9 in the third quarter to take a comfortable 25-point lead into the final quarter. Kendra Raths gave UMM its first 20-point lead of the game with a three in the quarter's first minute. Later, Courtney Dague's lay-in gave the Cougars their largest lead at 60-34 with 2:19 left in the frame. UMM's largest lead came at 32 points in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars held Northwestern to just 28 percent shooting from the floor and held a 57-32 edge on the boards.

Courtney Dague goes up for two of her 12 points against Northwestern. (Brooke Kern / Morris Sun Tribune)Van Kempen came within a point of collecting her seventh double-double of the season with a nine-point, 16-rebound effort. Raths was a point and a rebound shy of a double-double. Miller had a team-high 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown.

Minnesota Morris (9-4, 6-0 in UMAC) has a first-place meeting at UW-Superior ahead on Friday, Jan. 13. The Cougars stick around the area and face Duluth on Saturday, Jan. 14.