Jay Kwateh finished with a game-high 21 points, nearly doubling her previous career scoring high.
MORRIS, Minn.– The University of Minnesota Morris women’s basketball team returned to the floor on Saturday following a long layoff and pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Crown College, 75-64, in the team’s UMAC opener. The win improves the Cougars to 3-8 (1-0 UMAC) on the season.
Minnesota Morris started slowly out of the gates as Crown built a 7-2 lead in the first four minutes. The Cougars came alive from there, scoring 13 unanswered points to go on top, 15-7. The bench provided the initial spark as Malory Anderson and Justine Day came into the contest and scored the first six points of that run. The Cougars would maintain the eight-point lead into the second quarter, 21-13.
Crown had its deficit down to four, 23-19, before Lexus Eagle Chasing and Jay Kwateh accounted for a 7-0 run to build the UMN Morris cushion into double-figures at 30-19 and forced a timeout from the Storm. Minnesota Morris went to the break with a 38-29 lead.
The Storm wasted little time in digging themselves out of the hole, tying the game at 40-40 less than four minutes into the third quarter. Though consecutive buckets from Kwateh upped the Cougars into a 44-40 lead, Crown then came back with five straight points to take its first lead at 45-44. With Minnesota Morris trailing, 51-50, in the final minute of the third, Kwateh converted back-to-back three-point plays to send the Cougars into the final quarter with a 56-51 advantage.
After trimming the Cougar lead down to two in the first two minutes of the final period, Crown ran out of gas. An 8-0 run midway through the fourth quarter proved to be the dagger for the Cougars as Kwateh scored on yet another three-point play before Eagle Chasing canned a triple to give Minnesota Morris a 69-57 edge with five minutes to play. The Cougars put the game away by holding Crown scoreless over the final two minutes to pick up the victory.
Kwateh nearly doubled her previous career high, finishing the day with a game-high 21 points along with seven rebounds. Eagle Chasing added a double-double with 19 points and 11 boards, along with four assists and three steals. Jadyn Sondrol also finished in double-figures with 10.
The Cougars controlled the paint with a 42-22 edge in points down low, while also swatting 12 shots, tied for the third-most in a game in program history. Ella Van Kempen accounted for five of those blocks, with Day added another three.
Minnesota Morris is quickly back in action, hosting North Central University at Jim Gremmels Court on Monday night at 5:30 p.m. in a rescheduled date following the postponement of the contest last month.