by Tomi Thompson
The Dragon women were the stars at Nemzek this weekend as they came up with two NSIC victories.
The Dragon men and women both had two conference matchups at home this weekend. Friday they took on the Minot State Beavers and Saturday the U-Mary Marauders.
Friday night’s game started out tough for the women. The Beavers had a 13-point lead early in the game and MSUM trailed 32-27 at the half.
Hitting free-throws was key for the Dragons, hitting 31 of 36 from the line. The Beavers were also hurt by 21 turnovers.
The women battled for the final eight minutes.
They went on a 14-6 run over the Beavers and led 56-53 with three minutes on the clock.
The game came down to the wire for the Dragons, who were up by only one with less than a minute left in the game.
Sophomore guard Morgan Banasik came up with a key offensive rebound for the Dragons, which lead to sophomore guard Natalie Van Whye heading to the foul line after the Beavers fouled to stop the clock.
Van Whye and junior forward Heather Strese hit key free throws in the final seconds to secure the Dragons victory.
The Dragons beat the Beavers 64-60.
Strese scored a then career-high 17 points and went 8 for 8 from the free throw line.
Van Whye scored a career-high 14 points and hit 10 of 11 free throws.
Van Whye said there was pressure to win against the Beavers.
“The only thing I was thinking was we need to get stops and score,” Van Whye said. “We just kept going after them little by little and finally pulled it out.”
Other key players for the Dragon women included Banasik, with four assists and four steals, junior guard Meghan Roehrich, scoring 13 points and four rebounds, and redshirt freshman forward Drew Sannes, who came off the bench with eight points and four rebounds.
Van Wyhe said a victory Friday put the team in a good position. “That win really meant a lot because we could have been 1-5 after that which doesn’t put us in a good spot.
That victory meant we can play with teams and we can make a comeback,” she said.
Van Wyhe said team goals moving forward include taking one game at a time and continuing to get better each game.
After a great weekend for Van Wyhe, she hopes to keep up her personal success as well.
“My goal is to come with that mentality every game and pitch in with scoring because we definitely need that,” said Van Wyhe.
Roehrich said the win was more than about numbers.
“The sweep this weekend was huge for us,” Roehrich said.
“In our league, sweeps at home are a must because winning on the road is tough. We had a great team effort all weekend and I think these wins showed huge character of our coaches and players.”
The Dragons hit the road for two conference matchups with games at St. Cloud State (6-0, 3-0 NSIC) and Minnesota-Duluth (4-3, 2-1 NSIC) on Dec. 12 and 13.