MOORHEAD — Minnesota State Moorhead went stone cold in the second half Tuesday night at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse and couldn't keep pace with Northern State.

The Dragons shot 21% from the field after halftime, while the Wolves started to separate midway through the third quarter. That combination fueled Northern State to a 66-48 victory in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women's basketball opener for both teams.

"We didn’t hit any shots," Dragons head coach Karla Nelson said. "We don’t move the ball well against a zone (defense). We really don’t have a lot of chemistry against a zone right now so we’ll have to keep working on that."

The Dragons (0-3, 0-1 NSIC) remained winless this season, while the Wolves (3-0, 1-0) have won three consecutive games. The Wolves limited the Dragons to 20 points in the second half on 6-for-28 shooting from the floor. MSUM shot 12% (2-17) from the field in the fourth quarter where Northern State led by as many as 21 points.

"I think there’s definitely shots that we can hit and then it’s a matter of maturing and understanding," Nelson said. "If I’m open I’m going to shoot it, but yet maybe you have to do a better job of hunting for shots, too."

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Minnesota State University Moorhead's Allisa Knight takes aim against Northern State's Kailee Oliverson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Allisa Knight takes aim against Northern State's Kailee Oliverson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum


The Dragons took a 36-35 lead after freshman guard Natalie Jens scored on a reverse layup with 6 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Wolves took over from there, ending the third quarter on a 15-1 run to push their lead into double digits for good.

Northern State forward Laurie Rogers started the run with two free throws. Lexi Roe capped the surge with a pair of foul shots to give the Wolves a 50-37 lead with 50 seconds to play in the third quarter. Northern State carried that lead into the final 10 minutes.

"We gave up easy shots to their post players on the offensive end," Nelson said. "Our post defense wasn’t very good and it needs to get better. We need to compete harder at that position, especially when you’re not hitting shots. I felt like we just gave in and just gave them really easy looks."

Roe paced the Wolves with a game-high 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the floor. Jens and sophomore guard Mariah McKeever led the Dragons with 11 points each.

Minnesota State University Moorhead's Payton Boom works for position against Northern State's Kailee Oliverson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Payton Boom works for position against Northern State's Kailee Oliverson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum


Northern State, which led by as many as seven points in the first half, took a three-point lead into halftime, scoring the final seven points of the second quarter. Rogers sank a 15-foot jumper that beat the halftime buzzer and gave Northern State a 31-28 lead.

In the first quarter, the Wolves built a 22-15 lead after forward Kailee Oliverson scored a basket in the paint with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter.

The Dragons clawed back into the game, scoring the final two points of the first quarter and the first seven points in the second quarter. Peyton Boom sparked that rally with the first four points. McKeever capped the rally with a 3-point play for a 24-22 MSUM lead with 8:02 to play in the second quarter.

The Dragons built a 28-24 lead after McKeever scored off a cut to the basket with 4:36 remaining in the first half. The Wolves countered with their seven-point surge to end the half.

Minnesota State University Moorhead's Mariah McKeever shoots over Northern State's Rianna Fillipi at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Mariah McKeever shoots over Northern State's Rianna Fillipi at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum

Roe had 11 points in the first half to pace the Wolves. McKeever led the Dragons with seven points in the opening 20 minutes. Boom had six points on 3-for-3 shooting from the floor through two quarters, but played limited minutes throughout the game due to foul trouble. She fouled out in the second half.

"We didn’t play with a very good maturity about us," Nelson said. "That’s probably to be expected. We’re pretty young for the most part, but we definitely have capable shooters."

Minnesota State University Moorhead's Natalie Jens looks for an opening past Northern State's Haley Johnson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Natalie Jens looks for an opening past Northern State's Haley Johnson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum


NSU 22 31 50 66
MSUM 17 28 37 48
NSU (3-1, 1-0 NSIC): Fillipi 3-9 2-4 8, H. Johnson 5-9 3-7 13, Oliverson 2-11 1-1 5, Roe 5-10 5-6 15, Rogers 2-5 6-6 10, Radtke 0-0 0-0 0, Garvey 2-5 3-4 9, Heinz 0-0 0-0 0, Alfson 0-0 1-2 1, Holmes 0-0 0-0 0, Hilgemann 1-5 2-2 5, A. Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Mekash 0-0 0-0 0, Hardwick 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 23-32 66.
MSUM (0-3, 0-1): McKeever 4-13 3-4 11, Jens 3-10 5-6 11, Steichen 1-4 0-0 2, Boom 4-6 0-0 8, Loiland 1-3 0-0 2, Miller 0-2 2-2 2, Thompson 0-4 2-6 2, Holtz 1-5 0-0 2, Herbranson 0-0 0-0 0, Knight 3-5 0-1 6. Totals 18-55 12-19 48.
3-point goals: NSU 3-14 (Fillipi 0-1, Oliverson 0-2, Roe 0-3, Garvey 2-5, Hilgemann 1-3), MSUM 0-13 (McKeever 0-3, Jens 0-3, Steichen 0-2, Miller 0-2, Thompson 0-1, Thuringer 0-1, Holtz 0-1). Total fouls: NSU 21, MSUM 24. Fouled out: Boom. Rebounds: NSU 44 (Johnson 7), MSUM 39 (Thompson 8). Assists: NSU 7 (Fillipi 3), MSUM 8 (Steichen 3). Turnovers: NSU 14, MSUM 19.

Minnesota State University Moorhead's Mariah McKeever tangles with Northern State's Haley Johnson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Mariah McKeever tangles with Northern State's Haley Johnson at Alex Nemzek on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. David Samson / The Forum