Women's basketball season ends in upset to Presentation
The No. 6 seed Presentation College pulled off a second straight upset, defeating the top seeded University of Minnesota, Morris 63-42 in a semifinal game of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Thursday on the Cougars' home court.
The Saints will travel to St. Paul this Saturday to play Northwestern College (who upset Northland) in the UMAC tournament final.
The Cougars were led by guard Tara Thielke with 16 points and whose three-point shooting in the second half nearly ignited a rally. Forward Steph Roggenbuck added 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Saints were paced by veterans. Junior Sara Gregersen and senior Becky Smith had 17 and 16 points, respectively, in the winning effort.
This was the third meeting of the season between the Saints and Cougars. UMM easily won the first two games, but in this matchup they were missing first-year post Emily Mehr who was sidelined with an injury from last weekend.
Mehr's absence was felt early as Presentation was able to clamp down on Roggenbuck inside. Meanwhile, the UMM guards had trouble finding the range from outside, which allowed Presentation to pull away early, keeping a double-digit lead for most of the first half.
At halftime, the Cougars trailed by 15 points after shooting just 26 percent compared to Presentation's 54 percent.
In the second half, head coach Tim Grove ratcheted up the defensive pressure going into a full-court press, which forced the Saints into several turnovers, but the Cougars were not able to capitalize as they had in past meetings.
Thielke hit back-to-back three pointers near the 10-minute mark, cutting the Presentation lead to 11 and setting the stage for a rally.
But after a timeout, the Saints stabilized their play and ran their lead to 17 within the next four minutes. The Cougars would draw no closer.
In spite of the disappointment, the loss ended what was a remarkable season for UMM, finishing 19-7, the best women's record since 1983.
The Cougar women were honored at halftime of the men's game for their regular season championship. UMAC commissioner Corey Borchardt was on hand to present the trophy to coach Grove and the team