The Cougars (9-7, 5-7 NSIC) used a dominating performance inside the paint as they defeated Winona State (8-8, 4-8 NSIC) 63-53 at the Stewart Center on Saturday night. The Cougars scored 24 points in the paint compared to only eight for the Warriors.
The Cougars started out the game with a 9-3 run that was capped off when Taylor Varsho took a Marie Malloy pass and finished with two points in the paint.
With under 10:29 left in the first half, the Warriors Connor Nagle hit back-to-back three point shots to give WSU a 19-13 lead over the Cougars.
USF then answered back with three-straight Taylor Varsho three-point shots to give the Cougars a 26-25 lead with just over four minutes left. Varsho finished the first half with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting including 4-7 from behind the arc.
The Cougars then took the lead into the half when Laura Johnson made a great pass to Teagan Molden in the paint as Molden finished the play with a short jumper.
USF jumped out of the gate in the second half as they started out with an 13-1 run to give the Cougars a 46-32 lead. The run was finished off with back-to-back three point shots by Jaicee Ulmer and Laura Johnson.
Winona State then cut the Cougars lead down to six points with just over four minutes left in the game when Connor Nagle hit a shot from downtown.
The Cougars kept the Warriors from getting any closer as they scored seven straight points which ended with Bailey Bouman hitting a three-point shot with just under 40 seconds left to give USF a 13 point lead.
Kate Hartman hit one more three with thirty seconds left to cut USF’s final margin of victory to ten points.
Taylor Varsho led all scorers with her 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Varsho also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out two assists and recorded two steals.
Marie Malloy also had a career night for the Cougars as she scored a career-high 13 points for USF. Malloy also recorded four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Joining Varsho and Malloy in double-digits was Jaicee Ulmer who scored 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting (2-5 3PT FG). Ulmer has scored in double-digits for the Cougars in the last nine games and in that stretch has averaged 14.4 points per game.
Sam Knecht had a dominating performance on the boards as she grabbed 10 rebounds while also scoring six points.
The Warriors were led by Kelsey Andrist who scored seventeen points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists. Connor Nagle and Kate Hartman also came up big for Winona State as they scored 13 and 12 points respectively.
USF shot 40.7% from the field including 33.3% from downtown while holding the Warriors to 30.5% shooting.
The Cougars will return to action on Friday, January 24 when the face cross-town rival Augustana College with tip-off set for 6 p.m. on Augustana’s campus.
Courtesy: Paul Watley, University of Sioux Falls Sports Information