A career-high 13 points from senior forward Kara Norris helped pace the University of Minnesota, Morris women's basketball team to a 68-56 win over Bethel University at the P.E. Center Tuesday night.
Norris' points came in efficient fashion as she went 5-6 from the field and 3-3 from the line to go along with six rebounds. Norris credited her scoring opportunities to the Cougar guards and to the team's new offensive set.
"Now we play two posts in, so you get the high-low look, which is great for posts. I think that's the difference," she said.
The game was the opener for the Royals who lost significant talent to graduation, but who also showed great athleticism against the Cougars, forcing UMM to commit 27 turnovers on the night. Bethel's quickness impressed head coach Tim Grove as well.
"[They] could score in a hurry. We were just fortunate they weren't shooting the ball that well. That allowed us to get the lead and hold it."
The Royals jumped out to an early 16-9 lead in the first half. But two baskets from sophomore Jenni Noordmans and one from Norris tied the game at the 8:43 mark. The Cougars would not trail again.
But that didn't mean Bethel was easily put away. The Royals battled and even tied the game briefly at 12:15 of the second half before the Cougars stormed away for good. Consecutive buckets from Norris and a three-pointer from junior guard Brandi Cresap gave the Cougars an eight-point lead.
Junior Steph Roggenbuck chipped in 11 points to go with a team- and game-high 11 rebounds. The Cougars held a 40-26 rebounding advantage for the night.
Junior Tara Thielke sparked the offense with five assists and five steals.
The Cougars go into Thanksgiving break with a 2-1 record. They return to the hardwood on Dec. 1 to face Mayville State for the second time this season. When these teams met on Nov. 17, the Cougars prevailed 96-89.