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Courtesy: USF Athletics

Cougars Head to MSU-Moorhead for NSIC 1st Round

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 02/25/2013
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The Game
The University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball team travels to Minnesota State University-Moorhead for the first round of the NSIC Tournament on Wednesday, February 27 at 6 p.m. The Cougars are the sixth seed in the NSIC South, while the Dragons are the third seed in the NSIC North. USF will also have revenge on its mind; as the Dragons posted a 73-65 home win over the Cougars back on Jan. 18.

Dish Network

The Cougars have handed out 10 or more assists in 19 of 26 games this
season, highlighted by a 22-assist game vs. Nebraska Wesleyan, where USFmade 29 field goals.

Figuring on February

USF is 25-18 (.581) all-time in the month of February under Coach Traphagen.

Coach Trap vs. the North Star State
The Cougars are 9-8 against Minnesota-based schools since Coach Traphagen took the helm at the beginning of the 2008-09 season. USF defeated the University of Minnesota, Morris in overtime, 84-82 on 11/22/08. Last year, the Cougars posted two wins over Southwest Minnesota State but were edged at St. Cloud State, 52-51. USF is 6-7 versus Minnesota-based schools this season.

Where the Cougars Rank Nationally (out of 277 NCAA D-II schools)

157th in scoring offense...199th in scoring defense...194th in scoring margin...
158th in field goal percentage...183rd in field goal percentage defense...
68th in free throw percentage...195th in rebounding margin...30nd in three-
point field goals per game (7.0)...39th in three-point field goal percentage (34.3)
...172nd in win-lost percentage...192nd in assists per game...106th in blocked shots per game...218th steals per game...47th turnovers per game (15.7) ...187th in personal fouls per game...126th assist-to-turnover ratio...160th in turnover margin...105th three-point field goal percentage defense.

Recent Milestones

Senior Alyssa Rushton eclipsed the 500 point mark with her 15 point effort in the Cougars’ regular season finale versus Concordia-St. Paul.

USF in the Postseason

The Cougars have posted a 5-4 mark in postseason play during the Traphagen era. They went 1-1 in 2008-09, 1-1 in 2009-10, 3-2 in 2010-11 and did not participate in the postseason last year due to USF’s NCAA D-II provisional standing.

Road Warriors
The Cougars are 40-30 all-time in games on enemy territory, under head coach Travis Traphagen.

Icy-Hot (and repeat, and repeat)
The Cougars have followed a clap off, clap on shooting pattern from long range throughout the 2012-13 season. During the last eight games, USF has posted 3-point field goal percentages of: .226/.500/.250/.435/.192/.650/.455/.276.

High-Volume Cougar
Junior Laura Johnson ranks among the most active Cougars in program history. “LJ” has started every game since arriving on USF’s campus—a streak that currently stands at 85 straight games. She has played an astounding 921 of 1,040 (88.55%) minutes this season and leads the NSIC with a per-game average of 35.42 minutes. She recently joined the 500-rebound club and is 53 points away from securing membership in the 1,000 points club. Johnson is currently shooting 87.9 percent from the stripe, which puts her on pace to break Lindsey Schneiderman’s single-season free throw percentage record of 86.4%, a mark established during the 2003-04 campaign.

Dragon Tales

MSU-Moorhead (15-11, 12-10) split its final two games of the regular season, as they were edged at home 81-79 by the University of Mary before bouncing back to knock off Minot State on Senior Day, 74-61.

The Dragon women have qualified for the NSIC playoffs in all 14 years of the tournament’s existence. The only other teams in the NSIC that have accomplished this feat are Wayne State and Winona State. The Dragons have an overall record of 8-13 in the tournament (6-7 in the first round, 2-4 in the semi-finals and 0-2 in championship games). Their eight total wins are tied for fifth-best (with SMSU), behind Concordia-St. Paul (17), Wayne State (16), Minnesota-Duluth (15) and Northern State (nine).

Three-Headed Monster
MSU-Moorhead is led by the veteran trio of junior Megan Strese (14.7 ppg), junior Morgan Zagel (12.8 ppg) and senior Marisa Yernatich (12.2 ppg). The three account for 59.7% (1,032 of 1,727) of the Dragons’ offensive output this season.

Wiping the Glass Clean
The Dragons are one of the better rebounding squads in the NSIC; ranking 5th in rebounding offense (40.4), and third in both rebounding defense (35.0) and rebounding margin (+5.5). MSUM stands 37th in the nation in rebounding margin while Megan Strese ranks 2nd in the NSIC in defensive rebounding (7.0 per game) and is also ranked 33rd in NCAA D-II for her overall rebounding efforts (9.9 per game).

Right On-Target

MSU-Moorhead is ranked second in the NSIC and 15th in the nation in team free throw percentage, connecting at a 75.7% clip from the stripe. Morgan Zabel’s adept touch at the line makes her one of the best free throw shooters in the nation. She ranks second in the NSIC at 90.1% (100-for-111), which is also the fourth-best mark in all of NCAA D-II. Teammate Megan Strese is shooting 79.0% to rank 115th nationally. Zabel is also lethal from beyond the arc, where she is knocking down 45.0% (27-for-60) of her attempts to stand tied for first in the NSIC with Marieanna Dulas of Winona State.
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