SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (SMSU) – The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team (4-1 overall, 1-0 NSIC) battled back after trailing at halftime to defeat Sioux Falls (2-3, 0-1) 75-67 to open their conference slate on the road at the Stewart Center in Sioux Falls, S.D.
After trailing 33-29 at the break, The Mustangs would outscore the Cougars 19-10 in the third quarter to jolt them to victory. SMSU would win the game at the free throw line and on the glass, outshooting USF 92.9 percent (26-of-28) to 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from the line while outrebounding USF 42-29.
The Mustangs shot 43.4 percent from the field (23-of-53) and 20.0 percent on three-pointers (3-of-15), while the Cougars shot 38.2 percent from the field (26-of-68) and 11.1 percent (1-of-9) on three-pointers.
Jenna Borchers led the offense with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists to help the Mustangs to victory, while making all 11 free throws. Meleah Reinhart would add 16 points and five rebounds while making all eight of her free throws. Sadie Stelter and Madison Gehloff would contribute six rebounds apiece to lead the Mustangs on the glass, while Abuk Akoi would score 12 points on six of eight shooting, adding five rebounds and a block.
Each team would come out of the gate slow, with each scoring six points in the first five minutes. SMSU would shoot 16 percent (1-of-6) while USF would shoot 25 percent (3-of-12) into the first media timeout. USF would start to find the bottom of the net, shooting 41.7 percent (5-of-12) in the final five minutes. The Mustangs would make all eight free throws in the quarter to trail 16-12 at the break despite 10 turnovers.
SMSU would heat up to open the second quarter, scoring on four of their first seven shots to creep back into the game and tie the score at 23-23 following a Stelter and-one. USF would score 10 of the net 12 points to take a 33-25 lead with just over two minutes to go in the first half, but SMSU would score the final four points to go into the locker room trailing 33-29.
The Mustangs would erupt to start the third quarter, scoring the first six points and going on a 19-7 run behind 10 Borchers points in the first seven minutes to take a 48-40 lead on 63.6 percent shooting (7-of-11). Sioux Falls would close out the quarter making three free throws to trail 48-43 heading into the fourth quarter. The defense would hold USF to 10 points on just 18.2 percent shooting (2-of-11) and tally three blocks while forcing six turnovers to get back into the game.
Offense would become popular in the fourth quarter, as the teams combined for 51 points on 55.6 percent shooting (15-for-27). Stelter would open the quarter with a three in the first ten seconds to create a fast pace that SMSU strives for. The Mustangs would make seven of their first nine shots in the quarter, and although USF would answer throughout, they wouldn’t narrow the gap to one possession until a 66-63 score with 45 seconds to go in the game. SMSU would go on a 9-1 run in the final 45 seconds, connecting on 90 percent of their free throws (9-of-10) to put the game away.
USF was led in scoring by Megan Fannin who finished with 22 points on eight of 11 shooting.
The Mustangs will have nine days in-between games, with their next matchup at Wayne State on Thursday, Dec. 2. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.