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Womens Basketball: Strong second-half propels UM-Morris past Rams

UMM women's coach Tim Grove consults with Alex Asmus, left, and Ian Grove, right, during the UMAC game against North Central Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Cougar Sports Center in Morris. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times1 / 4
Minnesota Morris junior Abby Van Kempen steals the ball from North Central during UMAC competition Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Cougar Sports Center in Morris. Van Kempen finished with a game-high 21 points along with 10 rebounds and three steals in the UMM win. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times2 / 4
Minnesota Morris senior Kendra Raths grabs a rebound in the first half against North Central Saturday, Feb. 9, in Morris. Raths had a double-double performance with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Rams. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times3 / 4
Minnesota Morris freshman Grace Atkinson looks around North Central defender late in the game Saturday, Feb. 9, in Morris. Brooke Kern / Stevens County Times4 / 4

The University of Minnesota Morris women's basketball team used a strong second half to top the North Central University Rams, 74-43, Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Cougar Sports Center in Morris. Kendra Raths and Abby Van Kempen both recorded a double-double in the win.

"I'm very proud of the way we came out and we played the way we're capable of in the second half," UMM head coach Tim Grove said. "North Central played a good first half and had all the momentum. We came out and established ourselves to open the second half and never looked back. Great effort on both ends of the floor by our entire team."

With the win, Minnesota Morris improves to 15-8 overall and 11-3 in UMAC action, while North Central is now 14-8 overall and 8-6 in conference play.

The two teams got off to a slow start in the game as North Central led Minnesota Morris, 10-7, after the first quarter.

Heading into the closing seconds of the first half, Elli Stevenson connected on a jumper with 23 seconds left to make it a 27-22 in favor of North Central. The Rams then brought the ball down the court and Betty Rand hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 30-22.

The second half saw the Cougars click offensively and defensively. In the third quarter alone, Minnesota Morris scored 30 points – eight more points than the first half combined. Defensively, the Cougars allowed 30 first half points and then allowed 13 points over the final 20 minutes of regulation.

Minnesota Morris capped off the game by outscoring North Central 22-5 in the fourth quarter to secure its 15th victory of the season.

The biggest adjustment for the Cougars in the second half came off of points in the paint. During the first half, Morris scored 10 points in the paint and then scored 28 points in the paint during the second half.

Van Kempen finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season, while Raths had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Along with the double-doubles from Raths and Van Kempen, Stevenson scored 16 points.

Minnesota Morris now heads to Northwestern on Wednesday, Feb. 13, in St. Paul. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.

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