MSUM Women's Basketball Tops UMD in NCAA Tournament Opener, 63-54

HAYS, Kan. (MSUM Athletics) -- The Minnesota State University Moorhead women's basketball team defeated University of Minnesota Duluth in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays, Kansas by a score of 63-54 on Friday night.

MSUM improves to 27-6 overall while UMD falls to 23-7 on the year.

Senior guard Jacky Volkert led the team with 16 points and contributed nine rebounds. Junior forward Madi Green had 14 points and three rebounds. Junior forward Megan Hintz had a career-high six assists to go along with a team-best 15 rebounds. Sophomore guard Brooklyn Leigel had nine points and six rebounds on the night.

MSUM shot 34.5 percent (19-of-55) from the field compared to 28.8 percent (23-of-80) for UMD. The Dragons outrebounded the Bulldogs 57-39.

"It was a really tough basketball game from the standpoint that both teams know each other so well," said Head Coach Karla Nelson. "We have played each other in some very tough games. Hats off to Duluth. They are a great basketball team, and we feel very fortunate to beaten them tonight."

The Dragons got on the board at the 7:17 mark after a jumper from Green cut the UMD lead to 3-2. The Bulldogs would go on a seven-point run before a three pointer from Leigel saw the Dragons trailing 13-8 with just under two minutes remaining in the quarter. UMD would drop in a layup, but Leigel responded with her second three pointer of the night as MSUM trailed 15-11 with :51 remaining. Freshman guard Natalie Steichen hit a three at the buzzer to pull the Dragons within one as they trailed 15-14 going into the second quarter.

Volkert would tie things up 17-17 in the second quarter after nailing a three with 8:26 on the clock. Freshman centerNicole Brown brought the score to 22-22 with a three pointer of her own with 5:50 to go. Leigel would hit her third three pointer of the night as MSUM trailed 26-25 with under two minutes to go in the quarter. An offensive rebound and layup from sophomore guard Kiley Borowicz, followed by a jumper from freshman center Peyton Boom gave the Dragons a 29-26 lead—their first lead of the night—as time expired in the quarter. MSUM was 7-of-12 from the three-point line through the first half.

The Dragons went up 31-26 with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter after a jumper from Hintz. Green would drop in a layup and follow that up with a free throw to bring the Dragon lead to 35-29 with six minutes to go and force a UMD timeout. Boom would convert an offensive rebound to a layup as MSUM would go up 37-31 with 5:04 remaining. Green followed-up with her 11th point of the night to bring the lead to 39-31. Volkert hit a three with 1:08 left in the third quarter to bring the Dragon lead to 43-37. UMD would miss their final attempt of the third quarter as MSUM held a 43-37 edge going into the final quarter. MSUM outrebounded UMD 16-8 in the quarter.

Boom brought the lead to 45-37 after dropping in a layup with 9:00 to go. Borowicz would play the ball of a defender's back and bring it in for a layup as MSUM went up 48-39 with eight minutes remaining. Back-to-back free-throws from Volkert gave the Dragons a 50-41 lead with 5:47 remaining. With 3:44 to go Hintz hit a free-throw to give MSUM the 51-41 edge—their largest lead of the night. Volkert fought off two defenders to sink a jumper and give the Dragons a 55-47 lead with just under two minutes to go. Minnesota Duluth would cut the lead to 55-51 off a jumper with 1:09 on the clock. Volkert dropped a layup after a solid pass from Hintz as the Dragons would lead 57-51 with :36 remaining. Two hit free-throws from Borowicz extended the lead to 59-51 with :25 to go. Volkert had ice in her veins at the free-throw line and brought MSUM's lead to 61-54 with :18 on the clock. The Bulldogs could not climb out of the deficit as MSUM earned the 63-54 win.

MSUM will advance to the semifinal as they are set face the host team in No. 3 Fort Hays State University tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.