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Cougar women stay unbeaten in UMAC action

The University of Minnesota, Morris women’s basketball team won a pair of conference games over the weekend defeating Martin Luther and Bethany Lutheran.

The Cougars have now won eight straight games and have defeated every Upper Midwest Athletic Conference team halfway through the season for a 7-0 record. 

UM-Morris 60, Martin Luther 59

Emily Mehr hit a pair of free throws with under five seconds left in the game as the Cougars escaped with a 60-59 win over the Martin Luther Knights Friday. Mehr led the Cougars with 11 points. Kayla Kramer added 10, while three others had nine points:  Abby Fragodt, Kendra Wycoff, and Kelsey Erickson.

The Cougars were out shot in the game, but made one more three pointer and had two more made free throws to give the Cougars the advantage. UMM outscored the Knights in the paint 18-14 and had 19 free-throw attempts. 

Martin Luther scored the first four points of the game, but Morris responded and tied it at five three minutes later. The game remained close through a majority of the first half.

The Cougars took a five-point lead with just over nine minutes left in the first half at 18-13. The Knights cut the lead to three twice, but both times the Cougars extended the lead back to five.

MLC cut the lead to just one with 6:42 left, however UMM went on a 10-4 run taking a 32-25 lead with 2:24 left.

Martin Luther scored the final four points of the half to cut into the lead as UMM led 32-29 at halftime.

Fragodt hit a three pointer out of the break and Mehr converted a layup to give the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 37-29. The lead did not last long as Martin Luther scored eight straight points to tie the game up at 37.

With the game tied at 39 Morris went on another run, scoring nine straight and taking a 48-39 lead with 11:44 left. Again MLC came roaring back to score eight straight.

The Knights finally overcame the Cougars with 3:32 left as they hit a three pointer to take a 53-52 lead. Erickson hit two free throws to give UMM the lead back less than thirty seconds later.

After a few missed shots for both teams, the Knights took the lead back with 2:23 left, but once again it was Erickson who converted from the foul line giving Morris the lead back with just over two minutes left.

Martin Luther grabbed the lead back on the next possession and held on to the lead until Kramer stole the ball and raced down the court to give UMM the lead at 58-57. The lead lasted just 16 seconds as the Knights came down and grabbed a 59-58 lead with just :21 left.

The Cougars got the ball down low on their next possession and Mehr was fouled as she put up a shot and went to the line for a pair of free throws. She hit the first to tie the game and then converted on the second one after a MLC timeout giving the Cougars the 60-59 lead.

The last chance for the Knights hit off the side of the back board.  

UM-Morris 86, Bethany Lutheran 74

Balanced scoring and hot shooting efforts provided the Cougars with all they needed on Saturday as they pulled away from Bethany Lutheran to win 86-74.

Wycoff and Mehr each had 18 points to lead the Cougar effort. Kramer had 12 points and Emily Auch and Fragodt each had 10, as five scorers were in double figures for the Cougars.

Morris shot over 50 percent in both halves as they outshot a Vikings team that was 12-of-27 from behind the three-point arc. The key to victory was the Cougars outscoring BLC 23-5 in points off turnovers. Morris had an 18-4 assist to turnover ratio, compared to the Vikings who had a 14-15 assist to turnover ratio.  

Kramer started the scoring for the Cougars as her three pointer in the opening minute of play tied the game at three.

The Vikings got the lead back and held Morris at bay until Mehr hit a jumper to give UMM their first lead of the game at 12-10.

The game went back and forth for the next 10 minutes of play. The Vikings held a 35-29 lead with 4:11 left, but the Cougars caught fire in the final four minutes and finished the half on a 12-0 run to take a 41-35 lead into the break. During the run Wycoff had five points and Mehr had three. Wycoff led the team with 10 points in the first half.  

Bethany Lutheran came out of the break on fire, battling back to take a 47-44 lead with 16:32 left. Fragodt hit a three pointer to tie the game at 47 just 26 seconds later.

Much like the first half the two teams went blow for blow as neither team had a lead larger than five until the final five minutes of the second half. Trailing 67-65 with 8:29 left Morris went on a 19-7 run to take an 84-74 lead with 2:13 left. Wycoff had six points to lead the team during the run.

The Vikings could not manage a point in the final 3:18.