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Cougar women open year with road loss

The University of Minnesota, Morris women's basketball team opened the new year with a 71-58 loss to Valley City State on Monday.

Eighteen points and five rebounds from junior post Steph Roggenbuck were not enough for the Cougars to overtake the Vikings at W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse.

The Cougars fell behind early and rallied to push the Vikings all night long.

Out of the gate, Valley City State surged ahead 8-0, picking up transition baskets off turnovers in a full court press. Roggenbuck kicked the offense into gear with several buckets in the paint, while guard Tara Thielke added more scoring punch off the bench. The Hancock native finished with 15 points.

By halftime, the Cougars had claimed a 35-34 lead.

The Cougars and Vikings moved nip and tuck in the second half, tied at 50 with 10 minutes to play, but then the shooting went cold and Valley City built a 10-point lead with five minutes remaining.

The Cougars cut that margin to six points at 64-58, with just over two minutes to play, but back-to-back Viking three pointers put the game out of reach.

Kara Norris led the Cougars with seven rebounds.

Noordmans and Norris recorded three steals apiece.

VCSU outrebounded the Cougars 39-29.

The Cougars were 22-of-58 from the field hitting five of 15 three-point shots. At the free-throw line, the Cougars were 9-of-13.

The loss drops the Cougars to 5-6 on the season. This weekend they travel up north for games against St. Scholastica and UMAC pre-season number one, Northland College.