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Cougar women clinch spot in UMAC tourney

The University of Minnesota, Morris women’s basketball team remains unbeaten in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference following two more wins over the weekend.

The Cougars’ victory over North Central Friday, combined with losses by Northland and Bethany Lutheran, clinched their spot in the UMAC Tournament. Saturday’s win against Northwestern gave the Cougars a two-game lead in the UMAC. 

The Cougars are 10-0 in UMAC play and 13-7 overall heading into a five-game home stand to end the regular season.  The Cougars host Presentation College on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in a non-conference battle in the P.E. Center.

UM-Morris 80, North Central 41

Emily Mehr and Kendra Wycoff combined for 44 points in the Cougars’ 80-41 victory over North Central Friday.

Mehr was 12-of-19 shooting from the field in 22 minutes of action. Wycoff was 7-of-13 from the field and was 4-of-10 from behind the arc.

UMM shot 48.6 percent from the field converting 34 of 70 shots.

The Cougars outrebounded the Rams 54-26, thanks to 12 from Abby Fragodt. That rebounding advantage helped the Cougars gain a 20-3 advantage in second-chance points.

Morris also dominated in the paint outscoring the Rams 32-4.

For the first 10 minutes of action the Rams hung tough with the Cougars and the game was tied at 17 with 10:32 left in the half.

Mehr, Wycoff and the rest of the Cougars took over after that outscoring the Rams 25-4 the rest of the half. Mehr had 10 points during a 20-2 run, giving Morris a 37-19 lead with 2:09 left in the half.

Mehr and Wycoff combined to score the first 15 points of the second half for the Cougars as the lead increased to 57-28 with 13:26 left in the game.

The lead got as large as 76-32 as Kayla Kramer hit a layup with 6:51 left.

UM-Morris 67, Northwestern 42

The Cougars took full control of the UMAC race with a 67-42 win over Northwestern on Saturday, as the Cougars hold a two-game lead over the Eagles with just four games left in the UMAC schedule.  

Four Minnesota Morris players ended with double digits as the team shot 42.6 percent from the field. Mehr led the way with 15 points, which was a game high as well. Kelsey Erickson tied her career high with 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting; her previous career came all the way back in 2010 against Crown.  Emily Auch had 12 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting and Wycoff had 11 points rounding out the four Cougars who scored in double figures. 

Fragodt led the way on the glass with 14 rebounds.

UMM outscored the Eagles 26-18 in the paint and turned 18 Northwestern turnovers into 21 points.

The Cougars pulled away in the second half, holding NWC to just 29.2 percent from the field, as they shot 46.4 percent themselves.  

It was a back-and-forth battle for the first 11 minutes of the game as neither team held a lead larger than four. 

Kramer hit a free throw with eight minutes left on the clock to give UMM a five-point lead as the Cougar tried to gain some separation. The Eagles closed to within three shortly after, but Morris went on an 11-4 run to increase the Cougars’ lead to 10 and went into the break with a 34-24 lead.

Out of the break the Cougars went on a 33-4 run to take full control of the game, and led 57-28 with 11 minutes left in the game. Northwestern never got closer than 22 as the Cougars went on to win 67-42.