March 24, 2009

Minnesota State Mankato Athletics

SAN ANTONIO – The No. 4 Minnesota State Mavericks kept their NCAA Championship aspirations alive as they defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies 61-53 in their first ever Elite Eight game. The win brings MSU’s record to 30-2, while Michigan Tech ends its season with a 27-7 record.

“It was a great win for our team,” said interim head coach Pam Gohl. “They worked hard and in the second half we got some easier looks and the shots started to fall.”

The first half began with Michigan Tech jumping out to an early 14-8 lead with 13:19 left in the half. The Huskies shot 4-of-4 from three point land during that stretch.

The Mavericks and Huskies would remain close the rest of the way, exchanging the lead four times, with Michigan Tech finishing the half with a 31-30 lead. The Huskies finished the half shooting 6-of-7 from beyond the three point line.

Senior guard Jo Noreen led all scorers with 12 points, while shooting 4-of-5 from the field. Senior forward Alex Andrews posted a team-high six rebounds, along with four points.

“We never like going into halftime down,” Noreen said. “We seniors realized it could be our last game and we just went full board.”

Scoring was at a premium early on in the second as Michigan Tech held a two-point lead at 36-34 with 14:00 left in the half. The Mavericks would then begin a 15-5 run, behind seven points from junior guard Tiffany Moe, to take a 49-41 lead with 8:31 left in regulation.

MSU would then extend its lead to 11, at 56-45, behind a three point shot from sophomore guard Andrea Walsh with 4:21 left in the game. The Mavericks would not look back as they closed out the game with a 61-53 win.

Noreen paced the Mavericks with 20 points, along with six rebounds and five steals. Moe added 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five steals. Moe and Noreen combined for 10 of MSU’s 12 steals.

“We’re a pretty scrappy team,” Moe said. “Tonight we took the risks of getting in close and it paid off.”

Andrews recorded her 12th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Minnesota State will take on the winner of the Alaska Anchorage/Clayton State game in the NCAA Final Four Wednesday, at 6 p.m.