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No. 19-ranked Dragons lose season-opener against No. 21 Michigan Tech

MOORHEAD-Minnesota State Moorhead head coach Karla Nelson didn't like what she saw from her team Thursday night in its season-opening game at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.The No. 19-ranked Dragons shot 32 percent from the field and didn't lead after th...

Minnesota State Moorhead's Megan Hintz drives to the basket during Thursday's college women's basketball game against Michigan Tech at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. Laurel Hoseth / MSUM Athletics
Minnesota State Moorhead's Megan Hintz drives to the basket during Thursday's college women's basketball game against Michigan Tech at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse. Laurel Hoseth / MSUM Athletics

MOORHEAD-Minnesota State Moorhead head coach Karla Nelson didn't like what she saw from her team Thursday night in its season-opening game at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The No. 19-ranked Dragons shot 32 percent from the field and didn't lead after the second quarter. Senior guard Lindsay Winter poured in 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead No. 21-ranked Michigan Tech to a 66-53 victory in nonconference women's basketball at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

"We lost to a good basketball team, there is no doubt," Nelson said. "They hit some shots. There is nothing horrible about that, but it's maybe how we lost. It certainly was not a very inspiring opening game."

The Dragons played two exhibition games against Division I opponents South Dakota State and Iowa, losing both. Michigan Tech (3-0) remained undefeated.

"I think our lack of toughness is probably most concerning," Nelson said. "We're just not a very tough basketball team. I felt that way through the first two exhibitions, even though we played stiffer competition."

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The Dragons took a 27-25 lead after junior guard Jacky Volkert scored on a drive to the basket with 2 minutes, 25 seconds to play in the second quarter. Moments later, Winter sank a 3-pointer to help her team score the final eight points of the first half. Huskies forward Michelle LaFave capped that surge with an inside basket that gave her team a 33-27 lead with 26 seconds to play until halftime. Michigan Tech never trailed after that scoring burst.

The Dragons couldn't recover, shooting 23 percent (7 of 30) from the field in the second half. In contrast, Michigan Tech shot 48 percent (15 of 31) from the floor over the final two quarters.

"There's nothing fluid," Nelson said of the MSUM offense. "We have some big issues. I don't think they are going to be corrected very easily. ... We couldn't establish anything."

Dragons sophomore forward Megan Hintz paced the Dragons with 20 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the floor. She also grabbed five rebounds and sank 10 of 12 free throws.

"That is a bright spot," Nelson said.

The Dragons didn't get closer than four points of the lead after halftime. Winter sank four 3-pointers en route to her team-high point total, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor. The 5-foot-6 Winter also added three assists.

MSUM next plays Northern Michigan at 4 p.m. Sunday at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

"I guess we're going to see what kind of character we have," Nelson said.

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MT 19 33 53 66

MSUM 17 27 41 53

MT (3-0): Stoll 3-7 0-2 7, Guy 2-6 0-0 5, Winter 8-13 0-0 20, Heise 4-9 0-0 8, Kelliher 6-11 0-0 12, Botz 0-0 0-0 0, LewAllen 0-1 0-0 0, McGirk 0-0 0-0 0, LaFave 6-13 1-2 14. Totals 29-70 1-4 66.

MSUM (0-1): Thorson 1-6 0-0 2, Fech 0-4 0-0 0, Volkert 6-15 2-5 14, Sannes 2-5 0-0 6, Hintz 5-11 10-12 20, Davis 0-1 2-2 2, Borowicz 0-1 0-0 0, Galegher 0-0 0-0 0, Liegel 2-5 0-0 6, Green 1-4 1-2 3, Swenson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-53 15-21 53.

3-point goals: MT 7-17 (Stoll 1-1, Guy 1-3, Winter 4-5, Heise 0-3, LaFave 1-5), MSUM 4-17 (Thorson 0-4, Fech 0-1, Volkert 0-2, Sannes 2-4, Liegel 2-5, Green 0-1). Total fouls: MT 19, MSUM 12. Rebounds: MT 34 (Winter 9), MSUM 37 (Sannes 11). Assists: MT 11 (Guy 5), MSUM 13 (Fech 4). Steals: MT 3 (Heise 2), MSUM 2 (Volkert, Davis). Turnovers: MT 10 (Kelliher 4), MSUM 13 (Thorson 4).

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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