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Strese's hot shooting lifts MSU Moorhead

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Minnesota State Moorhead's Heather Strese entered Saturday night's Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference quarterfinal matchup at the Pentagon against Winona State averaging 11.3 points per game.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Minnesota State Moorhead’s Heather Strese entered Saturday night’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference quarterfinal matchup at the Pentagon against Winona State averaging 11.3 points per game.
She blew that away at halftime, helping lead MSUM to a 93-84 women’s basketball victory.
Strese was 7-for-9 from the field, including a 3-for-3 effort from the 3-point line, with 20 points in the first half. She was only getting started as the junior from Evansville, Minn., finished with a career-high 36 points – just one shy of the all-time single-game scoring record for MSUM. She was 6-for-6 from the 3-point line – also a career high.
“It just really clicked tonight. I really don’t know what happened,” Strese said. “Everything was just going in, I guess. I haven’t shot that well since high school. It was just rolling off my fingers right, even if my feet weren’t set. It surprised me as well.”
The Dragons trailed for all of 35 seconds in the early going, and then built the lead to as many as 10 in the first half. They led 39-32 at halftime and were shooting 47 percent from the field.
But Winona’s Alexis Foley caught fire early in the second half, and the Warriors cut it to one when she scored to make it 43-42 with 16:49 to play.
Strese answered moments later with her fifth 3-pointer of the night, and the Dragons again slowly increased the lead to nine at 53-44 when Drew Sannes scored.
“You know that everybody is going to have one or two runs in each half, and you just hope you can score enough points to withstand those,” MSUM coach Karla Nelson said. “They got to the free-throw line a lot, and you need to give them credit because they were attacking us.”
MSUM increased the lead to as many as 12 at 81-69 when first-team all-conference guard Meghan Roehrich hit a pair of free throws at the 4:35 mark. The Dragons shot a season-high 52 percent from the field, and were deadly from long range, hitting a 10 of 15 from beyond the arc.
“I thought we had some good looks, but we probably could have had a few more if we would have moved the ball a little better,” Nelson said. “But we got some backdoor cuts and it all seemed to work out.”
Moorhead was the clear aggressor under the basket as the Dragons got several good looks and outrebounded the Warriors 42-23. Even though Strese was on target from long range, she also got several put-backs and grabbed seven offensive rebounds. Three
times she converted traditional three-point plays after being fouled on a made basket in the paint.
“The last couple of weeks she’s been playing really well, so it doesn’t really surprise me,” Nelson said of Strese’s outburst. “She can shoot the 3, and we’ve put some things in for her to shoot the 3, but certainly going 6-for-6 for anybody is pretty impressive. We’ll take it.”
Monday’s semifinal matchup is rematch from Feb. 6, when the Wildcats defeated MSUM by 21 points. Since that loss, however, the Dragons have now won six of seven.
“Wayne is going to be very tough for us,” Nelson said. “They’re a lot bigger than we are and they run a lot of stuff. We’ll have our hands full. But we’re up for the challenge.”
WS: Roelofs 8-14 4-6 24, Nagle 4-11 9-10 21, Foley 6-18 4-5 16, Zepczyk 3-3 0-1 6, McGlone 1-2 1-2 3, Weiland 3-3 1-2 7, Timmerman 1-7 1-2 3, Passint 0-0 2-2 2, Wirth 0-1 2-2 2, Hackmann 0-0 0-0 0. Team 26-59 24-32 84.
MSUM: Strese 13-18 4-5 36, Roehrich 9-18 4-4 23, Handevidt 2-6 4-4 10, Banasik 1-8 2-2 4, Van Wyhe 1-3 2-2 4, Sannes 4-5 3-3 11, Thorson 1-2 0-0 3, Doucette 0-0 2-2 4. Team 31-60 21-22 93.
Half: MSUM 39, WS 32. 3-point goals: WS 8-21 (Roelofs 4-9, Nagle 4-7, Foley 0-5). MSUM 10-15 (Strese 6-7, Roehrich 1-2, Handevidt 2-2, Banasik 0-1, Van Wyhe 0-1, Thorson 1-2). Total fouls: WS 21, MSUM 21. Rebounds: WS 23 (Four tied with 4), MSUM 42 (Strese 13). Assists: WS 12 (Foley 7), MSUM 13 (Doucette 4). Steals: WS 8, MSUM 3. Turnovers: WS 12, MSUM 18. A: 553.

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