Cherokee led 35-32 at halftime, but fell behind early in the third quarter when the Cougars ran off 10 unanswered points by breaking the Cherokee full-court press and cashing in lay-ups or short baskets at the other end.
Thanks to some timely three-balls by Megan Hummel and Megan Carlson, and a couple nice inside buckets by Jackie Wilson, Cherokee battled back into it, but could never close the gap to less than four points. MNW outscored Cherokee 20-11 in that pivotal third frame.
Hummel led Cherokee with 18 points, while Carlson added 15, and Wilson 12. Shanon Shaefer noatched nine points for the WHS club.
Amanda Bush, a talented 6-1 player who runs the floor well, and athletic guard Ellie Herzberg led the Cougars with 22 points apiece.
Cherokee sank 19-49 field goals for 39 percent, including 6-26 three=pointers.
Wilson paced Cherokee in rebounding with 13 to chart a sweet double-double performance, while Hummel grabbed nine boards, and Shaefer six. Shaefer also led in assists with five, and in steals with four.
MNW made 29-63 shots for 46 percent, including 3-10 three-pointers.
"I thought we played a much improved game tonight," noted Cherokee coach Heath Hagberg. "We did some really good things that we can build on. We took better care of the ball tonight and did a nice job of running the floor offensively.
"Megan Hummel, Megan Carlson, and Jackie Wilson had quality games. Everyone played with good intensity throughout the game."
The Cherokee teams host Lakes Conference foe Spencer Tuesday.