The Minnesota State-Moorhead women’s basketball team outscored Nebraska-Kearney 22-10 in the final eight minutes to secure a 67-54 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night in Mankato, Minn.
The Lopers, seeded fourth in the Central Region, finish the year at 20-10 while the fifth-seeded Dragons improve to 22-7 and will play top-seed Minnesota State tomorrow in one semifinal game.
The other side of the bracket had second-seed Fort Lewis and third-seed Winona State winning their first round games. Meeting for just the fourth time in women’s basketball, UNK and Moorhead each got off slow starts as the teams combined for 21 points over the first 11 minutes. Down four early, the Dragons eventually built a seven-point lead and then led by a 27-22 score at the break.
UNK would find itself down by 12 early in the second half before making a move. A Loper 16-5 run, covering a seven minute span, made the score 45-44 Dragons with 8:04 to play. A three from freshman reserve Debi Johnson (Elsie) capped this UNK spurt.
However, the Dragons controlled things from there, limiting UNK to just four points over the next seven minutes. By the time the Lopers reached 50 points, the deficit was in double digits again. Moorhead turned to its six footers, Alison Nash-Gerlach and Meghan Rettke, to pick up its first ever NCAA win. Rettke (6-3) had a game-high 12 rebounds, nine points and four blocks with Nash-Gerlach (6-1) scoring a team-high 20 points and pulling down eight boards.
Moorhead shot a solid 46 percent from the field with UNK making only 34.4 percent of its shots. The Lopers were 2 of 16 from three point line and attempted only 14 free throws.
In her final game as a Loper, Elm Creek senior Jade Meads scored a team-high 20 points, 18 of those coming in the second half. She also had five rebounds (four offensive) in 35 minutes.
Before fouling out, senior Jonni Mildenberger (Sterling, Colo.) had eight points and five rebounds and became the eighth Loper to tally 500 points (506) in a single season. On the career scoring list, Meads ranks fifth (1,649) and Mildenberger 15th (1,176).
story courtesy of UNK-athletics