MORRIS, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Morris women’s basketball team was back in front of a boisterous crowd at Jim Gremmels Court on Friday night and the Cougars sent the fans home happy with a 60-55 come-from-behind win over Concordia College (MN) in the season opener for both sides.
The game got off to a tough start for the Cougars. After Justine Day opened the scoring on the first Minnesota Morris possession of the night, the Cougars went more than four minutes without a point while Concordia answered with a 9-0 run to take a comfortable lead early on. Jay Kwateh finally broke the scoring drought for Minnesota Morris, but the Cobbers were able to take a nine-point lead late in the first quarter, 16-7, and still led by seven at the end of the first quarter.
Minnesota Morris began to mount a comeback in the second quarter, holding Concordia without a point for nearly the first five minutes. Baskets from Malory Anderson, Kwateh, and Ella Van Kempen brought the Cougars within a point at 16-15. The Cobbers began to build onto their lead again late in the half, but Anderson had the final bucket of the quarter and Minnesota Morris went to the locker room trailing by just five, 28-23.
The third quarter went back and forth for awhile until a quick 7-0 run in just over a minute from Concordia turned a 35-32 lead into the only double-digit lead of the night at 42-32 with two minutes left in the frame. Tariq Brownotter had a layup and a three-pointer in the final minute of the third to get the Cougars back within five, 45-40.
The opening two minutes of the fourth quarter saw Minnesota Morris burst out to a 9-0 run to take a 49-45 edge on the Cobbers. Jadyn Sondrol had back-to-back layups before Anderson gave the Cougars the lead and Kwateh added onto it. The game was still far from over and Concordia came back to lead three times, the last of which came at 54-53 with 2:26 to play. With just over a minute left, Brownotter gave Minnesota Morris the lead for good with a tough layup. That was followed the Cougars burying five of six free throws down the stretch to build the lead and ice the win.
Kwateh finished with a team-high 12 points on the night along with seven rebounds. Day also hit double-figures with 10 points and added nine rebounds. Brownotter had nine points in the game, as did Anderson with nine points and seven rebounds. Van Kempen came up just short of a double-double, but ended her night with eight points, 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots.
Minnesota Morris has a week off before playing its second and third games of the season. The Cougars will be a tournament hosted by the College of Saint Benedict on Nov. 12 and 13 in St. Joseph, Minn. First up is a matchup with the host school on Friday night at 8 p.m.