Looking to continue the hot streak against conference opponents, the University of Minnesota Morris women's basketball team was on the road at North Central University in UMAC action Saturday, Jan. 5, in Minneapolis.
Just a game removed from joining the 1,000 career points club, senior Kendra Raths looked to continue to add to her career total.
Add to that total she did.
Scoring a game-high 23 points, Raths help guide the Cougars to a 65-48 win over the Rams Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota Morris started the contest hot, exploding to a 12-4 lead just midway through the first quarter, in large part due to a smothering defense and the ability to battle on the boards. After a Rams turnover, Grace Olson was able to race down the floor for the lay up to give the Cougars a 11-4 lead. That was when the Rams appeared to wake up, despite Minnesota Morris' ability to extend the lead to 14-7 with just over four minutes left, North Central was able to mount a 12-3 rally to end the first quarter.
Raths would tie the game up at 19-19 with a lay up just 54 seconds in the second quarter only to give the Cougars their second lead of the game on a successful jumper just seconds later. Both teams would trade scores before Lexie Winter connected on a jumper from three-point territory that seemed to give Minnesota Morris the boost it needed. Fresh off a 19-point performance Abby Van Kempen would assert herself in the quarter, scoring the lay up with just over two minutes remaining to give the Cougars a 30-24 lead. The Rams would add just one basket in the final two minutes prior to halftime.
The Cougars started the second half with Elli Stevenson and Raths contributing in a big way. Of the first 12 points in the quarter, 10 came from Raths (6) and Stevenson (4). Stevenson continues to have a strong showing for the Cougars, reaching double figures after scoring 11 points on 29 minutes of action. As for Raths, she simply couldn't miss. In 29 minutes of action, she went 11-for-15 from the floor (0-for-1 3pt), while also grabbing three rebounds and making a block.
The Cougars also had a strong showing from the bench lead by Winter. The first year guard from Sartell’s five points were the final points of the quarter for Minnesota Morris as the game reached the final quarter of play. It was a good performance for Winter, scoring 10 points off the bench in 18 minutes of action.
For much of the fourth quarter, the Cougars were in full control. In fact, the smallest lead was 14 points. The Cougars held the advantage in points off turnover, scoring 14 of their 65 points, and fast break points where the Cougars scored 15 of their 65 points. Minnesota Morris dominated when scoring from the paint, outscoring the Rams 36 to 16.
The Cougars (7-6, 4-1 UMAC) will be back in action against Martin Luther at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, in Morris.