The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team took the No. 15 Wayne State Wildcats to the wire but fell 66-61. SMSU drops to 1-7 overall, 0-3 in the NSIC, while the Wildcats improve to 6-1 overall, 2-1 in the NSIC.
The comeback victory extended Wayne State’s consecutive home-game winning streak at Rice Auditorium to 51 games.
SMSU was led by Ellen Degler who finished the game with a career-high 21 points. Alison Nagel rounded out double-digit scorers for SMSU as she had 13 points. WSC was led by Ashton Yossi who finished with a game-high 25 points. Jordan Spencer had 16 points, and Ellen Hansen finished with 13 points to round out the Wildcats in double-digit scoring.
SMSU would fall into a 9-2 deficit early, but would score six straight points to close the gap to 9-8. At the 9:57 mark in the first half, Ellen Degler’s layup gave SMSU its first lead of the game, 16-14. SMSU would continue to lead until Wayne State went on a 7-2 run capped by two Jordan Spencer free throws at the 3:34 mark to put the Wildcats up 30-29.
SMSU would not be deterred, as the Mustangs would strike back with a 9-1 run that was finished by a Rebekah Rolling 3-pointer with just 34 seconds left in the half. The jumper was just the second 3-pointer the Mustangs made all half but it gave SMSU its largest lead of the game as the Mustangs led by seven, 38-31.
Wayne State would close the half with two free throws from Addy Roller as the two teams headed into the locker room at halftime with the score at 38-33.
WSC would open the second half quickly, as Ashton Yossi nailed a 3-pointer to shrink SMSU’s lead to just two points. The Wildcats would use a 13-3 run to open the half and take a 46-41 lead with 15:11 remaining.
Alison Nagel would hit a 3-pointer in SMSU’s very next possession to cut the Wildcat lead to 46-44. The Mustangs would recapture the lead on a Bree Holleman free throw at 11:04 (47-46).
SMSU would lead 61-59 with 3:08 remaining in the game as Hope Bonlander worked her way inside for a two-point bucket. The bucket would be SMSU’s final point of the game as the Mustangs went cold and allowed the Wildcats to score the final seven points of the game and complete the comeback, 66-61.
The Mustangs finished the game shooting 48.1 percent from the floor (26-54), including 27.3 percent from 3-point range (3-11). SMSU out-rebounded WSC by a slim 35-34 margin.
Wayne State finished the game with 27 (24-27) free throws compared to SMSU’s 11 (6-11).
The Mustangs will close-out the fall semester with two games at the R/A Facility in Marshall as SMSU will host Minnesota State, Mankato on Friday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. and Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.
Courtesy: Adam Henning, Assistant Athletic Communications Director, Southwest Minnesota State University