MOORHEAD, MN -- The University of Sioux Falls women's basketball team suffered a 62-50 loss to MSU Moorhead Wednesday night in the first round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Women's Basketball tournament. The Cougars, who shot at a 26 percent clip, struggled to find the back of the net early and never really got things going.

The defeat ends the Cougars season and gives them a 12-15 record in their first full season as a member of the NCAA Division II and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

The two teams went back and forth early, and by the 12:38 mark of the first half the Cougars' claimed their third lead of the game, 8-7, following a Bailey Bouman 3-pointer.

However, that lead would be short-lived as the Dragons responded with four-straight points to take charge, and they would not relinquish control.

The Dragons closed the final eight minutes of the half with a 15-6 run to hold a 30-20 advantage at the break.

Laura Johnson was perfect (2-of-2) from the field with six points, which lead USF, but her numbers were not indicative of the Cougars' first half shooting. They shot 23 percent to score their lowest first half total of the season.

USF hung around early in the second half, sizing up the home team to make their move. Trailing by eight at the 12:57 mark, the Cougars found offense.

Back-to-back 3-point makes by Alyssa Rushton and Johnson cut USF's deficit to two, 40-38, with 10:59 to play.

Just when it appeared the Cougars had gained momentum, MSU Moorhead would answer with a devasting 13-3 run, to make it 54-43 with 6:13 to play. USF would continue to fight, but six points is as close as they would get before dropping their second game against the Dragons this season.

USF was strong with the ball, as they turned it over just 10 times, while forcing 13 mistakes by MSU Moorhead. The Cougars also matched the Dragons up front with 16 points in the paint, but were outrebounded 48-38 for the game.

Johnson, a bright point in USF's offense, was the only Cougar to score in double-digits. She led all scorers with 19 points, firing 7-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-7 from deep. Johnson also added six rebounds.

Bouman chipped in eight points and seven boards for USF.

Courtesy:  University of Sioux Falls

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