Cold shooting led to a 73-40 Cougar loss to the University of Mary Saturday at the University of Minnesota, Morris P.E. Center. UMM struggled to cope with the Division II Marauders' overall size on the perimeter and in the paint, shooting just 26 percent on the day.
Early in the first half, both teams had difficulty finding an offensive rhythm as the points were hard fought and hard won. By the 12 minute mark, the Marauders had built a 10-2 lead.
The Cougars kept pace from that point, until U of Mary scored three consecutive baskets under the four-minute mark to push their lead to 23-11 at halftime.
UMM, led up top by point guard Brandi Cresap, showed good patience on offense, but they had trouble finding open looks on the outside. When they worked the ball inside to junior Steph Roggenbuck and first-year player Emily Mehr, the Cougar forwards often found themselves double- and triple-teamed.
At the half, the Cougars were just three-of-21 shooting, including 0-10 on three-point attempts. They would finish the game 1 of 16 on three point shots.
Despite U of Mary's overall height, forward Joy Heysse said after the game their physical advantage was beside the point.
"We have to make sure we're doing our things correctly. We can't control the fact tht they might be able to shoot over all of us. But we can control how we execute on offense and defense," she said.
The Marauders pulled away in the second, building up a 24-point lead at the 11:40 mark.
The Cougars were led on offense by Roggenbuck with eight points and on the boards by guard Kelsey Erickson who had six rebounds. The Cougars committed 30 turnovers to the Maruaders' 18.
To guard Nikki Washek - watching from the sidelines with injury - the loss was just part of the growing process for a young team.
"It's disappointing, but [better play] will come. We have a lot of young girls, so it'll come."
The Cougar women are back at home this Tuesday to host Bethel University at 7 p.m.