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Volkert hits clutch shot to lift Dragons to overtime win against No. 12-ranked Northern State

Minnesota State Moorhead guard Jacky Volkert pulls up for a shot in the first half Tuesday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. Volkert finished with 21 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer in overtime. Laurel Hoseth / Dragons Athletics

MOORHEAD—Even though Minnesota State Moorhead trailed by six points with less than 30 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, Dragons junior Jacky Volkert didn't lose hope.

"The game wasn't over," she said.

She was right. The Dragons sank two 3-pointers in the final 25 seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime. Volkert then drained the game-winning 3-pointer in overtime to lift MSUM to a 64-61 comeback victory against No. 12-ranked Northern State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women's basketball at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

"Jacky to me is the best point guard in the league," Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. "I have that belief in her. It's just a matter of her continuing to put in the work so she believes in herself, too."

Volkert finished with a game-high 21 points and seven assists. The 5-foot-7 guard also grabbed four rebounds as the Dragons avenged a 69-65 loss at Northern State last Friday.

The Dragons (7-3, 4-2) would have dropped three games behind the Wolves in the North Division standings with loss in Tuesday's game. Instead, MSUM pulled within a game of Northern State for first place in the division.

"As far as the North (Division) is concerned that is a huge deal," Nelson said.

"It was huge," Volkert added. "Beating a ranked team is huge."

Northern State took a 57-51 lead after sophomore guard Brianna Kusler sank two free throws with 31 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. Volkert, however, countered with a 3-pointer that cut the lead to 57-54 with 25 seconds to play in the fourth.

After the Wolves missed two free throws, Dragons freshman Lauren Fech came up huge. The 5-foot-8 guard hit a rainbow 3-pointer that tied the score at 57-57 with 12 seconds to play in regulation, forcing overtime.

Fech finished with seven points on 3-for-3 shooting from the floor, including her clutch 3-point shot.

"It doesn't surprise me," Nelson said. "Lauren just plays so beyond her years. She doesn't play like she feels the pressure."

The Dragons scored the first four points in overtime on two Megan Hintz baskets in the paint. The Wolves countered with the next four points. Wolves senior center Miranda Ristau sank two free throws that tied the score at 61-61 with 2:20 to play in overtime.

Volkert delivered the game-winning shot moments later. She drained a 3-pointer from the left wing that gave the Dragons a 64-61 lead with 1:52 remaining in overtime.

"I was wondering how much gas we had in the tank," Nelson said. "We just kept working and kept working and hit some big shots at the end."

The Dragons struggled to find the range for most of the game, shooting 29 percent (9-for-31) from the field in the first half. MSUM was 1-for-18 from 3-point range at one point. However, the Dragons made 6 of their final 10 attempts from the 3-point arc to rally for the victory.

"I think a lot of it was momentum. We just kept coming back," Volkert said. "I think having the confidence and sharing that confidence with our teammates helped. ... I think our defense tonight was one of our best games yet."

NSU 19 28 41 57 61

MSUM 14 24 33 57 64

NSU (9-2, 5-1 NSIC): Tappe 1-8 0-0 2, Kusler 1-4 6-6 8, Marti 3-9 2-3 10, Conrad 7-13 4-6 20, Ristau 4-11 4-4 12, Froelich 3-6 0-0 6, Laimer 1-2 0-0 3, Flakus 0-3 0-0 0, Fredrick 0-0 0-0 0, Tvedt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 16-19 61.

MSUM (7-3, 4-2): Thorson 2-12 0-0 6, Fech 3-3 0-0 7, Volkert 6-13 5-7 21, Sannes 3-14 4-4 10, Hintz 5-12 3-4 13, Borowicz 0-4 1-2 1, Galegher 2-5 0-0 4, Liegel 0-1 0-0 0, Green 1-3 0-0 2, Swenson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-68 13-17 64.

3-point goals: NSU 5-15 (Tappe 0-2, Kusler 0-2, Marti 2-4, Conrad 2-4, Froelich 0-1, Laimer 1-2), MSUM 7-28 (Thorson 2-11, Fech 1-1, Volkert 4-7, Sannes 0-2, Hintz 0-1, Borowicz 0-3, Galegher 0-1, Liegel 0-1, Green 0-1). Total fouls: NSU 13, MSUM 22.Fo uled out: Thorson, Fech. Rebounds: NSU 44 (Ristau 13), MSUM 41 (Sannes 9). Assists: NSU 13 (Kusler 4), MSUM 14 (Volkert 7). Steals: NSU 3 (three players with 1), MSUM 6 (Thorson 3). Turnovers: NSU 15 (three players with 3), MSUM 7 (Thorson 2). A--974.

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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