WSC women’s basketball hang on for 76-74 road win at SMSU
Senior guard Maggie Lowe hit the go-ahead basket with 33.8 seconds remaining, then Wayne State stopped Southwest Minnesota State three times in the final 30 seconds to hang on for a 76-74 Northern Sun Conference women’s basketball victory Saturday evening over the Mustangs at the R/A Facility in Marshall, Minnesota. It was the 19th straight win in the series for the Wildcats, now 9-4 on the season and 4-4 in league play while SMSU slips to 6-7 and 3-5 in NSIC games.
The Wildcats used 50 percent shooting in the first quarter to take a 21-17 lead after 10 minutes of play.
With WSC leading 9-8 at the 5:30 mark, the ’Cats used baskets from Erin Norling, Maggie Lowe, Kylie Hammer and Andrea Larson to build their biggest lead of the game at 17-8 before ending the quarter with a 21-17 advantage.
Southwest Minnesota State scored the first six points of the second quarter to take a 23-21 lead and eventually pushed the lead to seven at 39-32 with 2:34 remaining in the half.
But Wayne State closed the half with a 10-0 run, fueled by eight points that included a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore guard Halley Busse in the final 49 seconds of the half, to take a 42-39 lead at the break.
A tightly contested third quarter saw neither team lead by more than four points with the exception of one time when Busse canned a pair of free throws at the 3:02 mark of the quarter, giving WSC a 60-55 advantage. The ’Cats used a Busse jumper to end the quarter allowing WSC to take a 64-61 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Southwest Minnesota State scored the opening five points of the final quarter to take a 66-64 lead with 8:41 remaining.
Sophomore center Brittany Bongartz kept WSC in the game in the fourth quarter until her Wildcat teammates helped late.
Bongartz scored five straight on a pair of free throws and three-point play in 44 seconds to put the ’Cats back in front 69-66.
A Bongartz free throw, followed by a Norling basket and another shot from Bongartz had WSC leading 74-71 with just under two minutes to play.
SMSU tied the game on a 3-pointer with 1:44 to play, making the score 74-74.
Senior Maggie Lowe converted a layup with 33 seconds remaining, putting the ’Cats in front 76-74.
Norling then blocked two straight shots by SMSU and the Mustangs had a chance to tie or win the game on the final possession but Sadie Stelter’s shot was off the side of the rim from the left side and Busse grabbed the rebound as time expired giving the Wildcats the road victory.
The game ended with 11 ties and seven lead changes between the two clubs.
Norling finished with 18 points to lead Wayne State in scoring followed by Busse with 17. Freshman reserve guard Kylie Hammer added 12 while Bongartz recorded her second double-double in the last three games with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
WSC shot 29 of 66 from the field for 43.9 percent, going 9 for 25 behind the arc and 9 of 11 at the free throw line.
Sadie Stelter and Abuk Akoi each scored 17 points for Southwest Minnesota State. Caleigh Rodning added 13 while Erin Baxter (11) and Meleah Reinhart (10) also hit double figures.
SMSU shot 42 percent from the field making 29 of 69 shots. The Mustangs were 7 for 17 from the 3-point line and 9 of 11 at the charity stripe.
WSC had one more rebound than SMSU, 40-39, thanks to 10 boards by Bongartz. Norling was credited with a career-best seven assists and had three blocked shots in the win.