Southwest Minnesota State shot 55 percent in the second half and held a 42-31 rebound advantage to pull away and earn a 66-52 victory over the University of Sioux Falls in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women’s basketball on Tuesday night.
The victory for SMSU (2-13, 1-9 NSIC) was its first in NSIC play and snapped a 10-game losing streak overall. The win also snapped SMSU’s 14-game road losing streak, dating back to Jan. 20, 2012.
Sioux Falls defeated SMSU earlier this season 77-66 in the NSIC opener on Dec. 1.
USF (8-6, 5-5 NSIC) was held to 32 percent shooting in the game and committed 16 turnovers.
Alison Nagel and Bree Holleman led the way for SMSU with each scoring 15 points, while Hope Bonlander chipped in with 12 points off the bench for her second double-figure scoring game of the season. Mikayla Saathoff grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds, including 10 defensive rebounds to pace the SMSU defense.
SMSU ended the game shooting 42 percent (25 of 60) from the field and committed a season-low 11 turnovers.
SMSU started the game with a strong defensive effort and built a 10-2 lead with 14 minutes left in the half following a pair of Bonlander free throws.
SMSU then went cold from the field, connecting on just one field goal in the next seven minutes as USF rallied to take a 16-12 advantage. The Cougars pushed the lead to 19-14, before SMSU’s Megan DeRuyter reeled off five straight points, drilling a 3-pointer and two free throws to tie the game at 19-19 at the 4:49 mark.
USF regained the lead moments later and held a 25-21 lead with two minutes left in the half, before SMSU closed the half with baskets by Bonlander and Holleman to send the teams into the break tied at 25-25.
SMSU shot just 29 percent in the half, but held a 23-17 rebound advantage. USF closed the half shooting 33 percent from the field, but connected on four 3-pointers.
The Mustangs started the second half on an 8-2 to take a 33-27 lead following a Bonlander field goal with 17 minutes remaining, before USF scored four straight to make it 33-31. SMSU answered with an 8-0 run, capped by a Rebekah Rolling 3-pointer to take a 41-31 lead.
SMSU maintained a 10-point lead at 53-43 with eight minutes remaining, before putting together a game-clinching 10-0 run to push the lead to 63-43 with 4:50 left in the game on a Nagel jumper.
Chrissy Strassburg led the Cougars with 10 points and five assists.
Southwest Minnesota State continues NSIC play this weekend with a pair of road games. SMSU faces Northern State on Friday night, before taking on MSU Moorhead on Saturday.