Women's Basketball Challenges Non-Conference Opponents

Natalie Dillon
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston women’s basketball team competed in two close games this weekend but came out on the losing end both times. 

On Friday, Crookston looked to upset No. 16 ranked Michigan Tech when they put up a 20-point third quarter, but their efforts fell short as the Huskies came away with a 65-57 win. 

Mary Burke got the Golden Eagles on the board first with a three-pointer.  

Crookston held the lead until Michigan Tech tied the game at six and continued their scoring run to take a 13-6 lead. They extended the lead to eight points with two minutes left in the first quarter with a three-pointer from Clara Johnson. The Huskies made nine 3-point shots, four of which came from Johnson. 

Burke put up another three and Kylie Post scored two on a fast break to cut the Huskie’s lead to three at the end of the first quarter. 

Michigan Tech came out hot in the second quarter, scoring 19 points and holding the Golden Eagles to just nine.  

Two free throws from Post kept the Golden Eagles within three, but the Huskies went on to score seven straight points to take a 28-18 lead. Three-pointers from Alex Rondorf and Johnson extended and then maintained their 13-point lead going into the half.  

Within the first minute of the third quarter, Michigan Tech scored in the paint taking their largest lead of the game at 15.  

The Golden Eagles responded with an 11-point run, highlighted by four points in the paint for Burke, free throws from Jes Mertens and Post and a three-pointer from Abigail Leach.  

A fast-break layup from Post tied the game at 45, but the Huskies took a 3-point lead headed into the final quarter with a layup and subsequent free throw from Ellie Mackay. 

Two minutes into the fourth, Michigan Tech extended their lead to five. Crookston fought back, though, to bring the game within one and then tie it with yet another three-pointer from Burke and layup from Bren Fox.  

The Golden Eagles took a brief 54-53 lead with a free throw from Fox, but the Huskies controlled the last six minutes of the game, ending with a 6-point run. 

Burke led the team with 8 rebounds 18 points, 12 of which were from beyond the arc. Post added 10 points of her own, as she went 4-4 from the charity stripe. Fox led the Golden Eagles on the boards with 9 rebounds. She also had 7 points.  

The previous night, Thursday, the Golden Eagles were a mere three points away from securing their first victory of the season, but they lost a tough one to Northern Michigan 48-50. 

Both teams started out rather slow, as it took almost two full minutes for either team to score. Northern Michigan got on the board first with a fast-break bucket, but points from Post, Burke, Leach and Mertens gave the Golden Eagles a 9-4 lead.  

Back-to-back three-pointers from Alex Page and Leach extended Crookston’s lead to nine, and the Golden Eagles would take that going into the second quarter. 

After the Wildcats scored the first three points of the second quarter within the first 30 seconds, the two teams went on another two-minute scoring draught. Northern Michigan ended the draught with a three-pointer, to which Burke answered with her own. 

Another two-minute scoring lapse plagued both teams before the Wildcats scored eight of the final 10 points to take a 3-point lead going into the half.  

The third quarter was a back-and-forth battle, as there were five lead changes and three ties.  

The Golden Eagles quickly regained the lead with free throws from Mertens and a layup from Post, but it was short-lived. Northern Michigan had a slim, one-point lead before another scoring lull but extended it two minutes later with a jumper from Mackenzie Holzwart. 

Kylea Praska regained the lead for the Golden Eagles and they took it going into the final quarter of the game. 

A three-pointer from Elena Alaix gave the Wildcats the lead, one that, although the Golden Eagles fought hard, Northern Michigan would not give up.  

In the last minute of the game, a Page free throw and Leach layup cut the Wildcat lead to just one point. After a Crookston foul and one made free throw from Makaylee Kuhn, the Golden Eagles positioned themselves to take the last shot of the game, but the shot was no good. Northern Michigan snuck away with the 50-48 win.  

The Golden Eagles shared the ball well, as nine different players scored. Leach led them all with 9 points. Mertens and Post added 7 points apiece, while Burke and Fraaza each had 6 points. Fraaza grabbed 11 rebounds for the Golden Eagles, while Post added 6. Crookston finished the game 10-14 from the free-throw line.  

The Golden Eagles travel to Honolulu, Hawaii during Thanksgiving to take on Chaminade University and Lubbock Christian University, still chasing that elusive first win. 

Abi Fraaza drives toward the basket against Minnesota