BY BREANN LENZMEIER
With only a handful of games remaining in the regular season for the Dragon men’s and women’s teams, each game is critical.
Both teams finished their homestands this weekend, hosting St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action.
Facing both opponents after playing at St. Cloud and Duluth two weeks ago, both teams jumped out to fast starts in their games.
The women’s team started the weekend against St. Cloud and were led by senior forward Morgan Zabel with 17 points and senior forward Megan Strese with 14 points.
The Dragons bench outscored St. Cloud’s bench, 32-12, and head coach Karla Nelson pointed to that being a big factor in the win.
“Our bench play was key in the victory,” she said. “Our supporting cast won the game for us.”
The women’s team won 74-62 and improved to 13-8 overall on the season and 9-8 in NSIC action.
The men’s team looked to get their second win against St. Cloud in two weeks. When the teams last played each other, the Dragons came back from 10 point deficit to win 95-88. Friday’s game came down to the wire, but the Dragons were able to hold on for a 91-88 victory.
The Dragons were led by senior guard Tarell Clark with 27 points and junior guard Malik Wood with 14 points.
Head coach Chad Walthall thought the team played well down the stretch and on both sides of the ball. The team improved to 16-5 overall and 12-5 in NSIC action.
Friday was Go Pink at the basketball games, and both coaches agreed that it is a great event to be a part of.
“Win or lose, I’m so proud of what we do because I think that it really represents what we are all about which is hopefully a class athletic department,” Nelson said.
On Saturday the women held on for a 80-78 victory over Minnesota Duluth, with Zabel leading the Dragons with 24 points.
Megan Strese hit two freethrows that proved to be the difference in the game. Coach Nelson said making freethrows is critical.
“We came out with great energy and intensity,” senior Morgan Zabel said. “We need to play our best basketball at this time and know the importance of each game that comes our way.”
The Dragons improved to 14-8 overall and 10-8 in NSIC play.
The men lost a back-and-forth game to Duluth on Saturday falling 70-67. Malik Wood led the team with 17 points.
The team tried to tie the game at the end, but a three point attempt did not go in.
The Dragons fell to 16-6 overall and 12-6 in NSIC action.