A cold-shooting first half proved to be the demise for the Minnesota State University Moorhead women's basketball team on Saturday as the Dragons fell to St. Cloud State, 79-56, in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action at Alex Nemzek Hall in Moorhead, Minn.
The Dragons fell to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the NSIC, while St. Cloud State improved to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the league.
MSUM, which shot only 23.8 percent in a loss to Minnesota-Duluth on Friday, hit just 6-of-23 field goal attempts (26.1 percent) in the first half, compared to 51.5 percent (17-of-33) for St. Cloud State. MSUM shot much better in the second half (48.5 percent) and cut a 25-point deficit to 11, but came up short.
Senior Marisa Yernatich had a solid all-around game for MSUM with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. Junior Haley Thomforde had 10 points and four assists, while junior Megan Strese had a career-high 17 rebounds.
MSUM led 3-2 early after a Yernatich three-pointer and held a 5-4 lead with 17:33 left, but St. Cloud State went on a 13-0 run to take a 17-5 lead with 13:56 left in the half. From there, slowed by cold shooting, the Dragons faced a double-digit deficit. They were as close as 27-15 after Thomforde hit a three-pointer but the Huskies pulled away from there to take a 43-22 lead into halftime.
The Dragon offense warmed up early in the second half as they opened on an 11-4 run to cut the lead to 46-33 with 16:35 left. Senior Kaycee Charette, junior Morgan Zabel and Yernatich all hit threes to ignite the Dragon offense.
MSUM closed the gap to 49-39 after a Thomforde jumper with 12:25 left, and the Dragons were within 51-41 with 11:43 left but the Huskies methodically pulled away, as they pushed the lead back to 21 points with 5:16 left.
Zabel had nine points for MSUM, while Charette had eight points and three assists.
MSUM is off until Jan. 4, 2013 when it plays host to Minnesota-Crookston.
Notes: Strese has 46 rebounds in her last three games -- and average of 15.3 per contest. She is averaging 10.9 rebounds per game for the season…Yernatich now has 155 three-pointers as she continues to add to the career record…Thomforde now has four games of four assists or more this season.