With balanced scoring and shutdown defense, the University of Sioux Falls Women’s Basketball Team (13-6, 8-5 NSIC) won their second straight game with a 65-39 decision over Upper Iowa (3-18, 0-13 NSIC) on Friday night in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division play.
The Cougars opened up a 31-13 lead at halftime and had a 34-26 advantage in the third and fourth quarters to record a 10th straight win over the Peacocks. USF, which moved to 8-5 in the NSIC South and ahead of idle Wayne State by a half-game for third place, will face Winona State on Saturday afternoon in Winona, Minn. The Cougars improved to 5-3 on the road and extended their all-time series advantage over UIU to 12-1.
“I thought we were solid on defense and had a lot of good looks on offense,” said USF Head Coach Travis Traphagen. “It was nice to see everybody contribute and that balance on offense was important. It was nice to pick up another road win.”
USF spread the offense around against UIU. A total of 13 players put points on the board as USF had 16 assists on 25 made field goals. USF was led in scoring by sophomore guard Lauren Sanders and junior guard Kaely Hummel, who both had nine points. Sanders made a trio of three-pointers and Hummel added three assists and three steals in 21 minutes on the floor. With her nine points, Hummel moved closer to 1,000 points in her career and has 989.
Junior forward Gloria Mulumba added eight points, including six in the second quarter, and grabbed five rebounds with two assists and two steals. Sophomore forward Anna Goodhope paced USF with 10 rebounds and five points while junior guard Jessie Geer supplied seven points, three assists and two steals. It was the first time this season that USF did not have a player score in double figures.
The main story of this game was USF’s ability to defend. The Cougars held UIU to nine points in the first quarter and just four in the second as they led 31-13 at the break. USF outscored the Peacocks, 14-11 in the third quarter and opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run for a 52-26 lead and the matter was settled. In total, UIU scored just 39 points, the lowest total by a USF opponent this season.
To this point in the season, USF has held nine opponents under 55 points and six below 40 points. With pressure all over the floor, the Cougars were able to hold the Peacocks to 30 percent shooting from the field (12-of-40), and forced 24 turnovers. Of that turnover total, USF had 13 steals and also a blocked shot. UIU, which had nine points from Bekka Pierson, made just 2-of-10 from three-point range and 13-of-23 from the foul line. When USF took control in the second quarter with a 16-4 margin, they held UIU to 11.1 percent from the field on 1-of-9 shooting.
As for USF’s offense, the Cougars struggled shooting but put together runs to extend their lead throughout the game. USF was 25-of-62 from the field for 40.3 percent but made just 7-of-25 shots from three-point range for 28 percent. The Cougars, which hit 5-of-6 three throws, outrebounded UIU, 38-31.
Game Breakdown —
In the opening quarter, USF, which hit 7-of-16 shots for 43.3 percent, took a 15-9 lead and eight players scored points. After taking an 8-5 lead, Augusta Thramer ended a three-minute drought without points by hitting a jumper. Then, with 30 seconds left in the quarter, Mariah Szymanski knocked home a three for the 15-9 advantage.
After both teams struggled early in the second quarter, Mulumba stepped up for USF. She made two straight baskets and Andi Mataloni hit the first of her two three-pointers (6:12) as USF took a 22-9 lead over the Peacocks, which did not score for the opening 8:18 of the period.
A basket from Jasmine Harris increased USF’s lead to 24-9. At the 2:22 mark, Mulumba scored again and after UIU finally broke through with points from Haley Martin (1:42, 2nd Q), Mataloni hit another shot from three-point distance for a 29-11 lead. USF closed the half with 10 players in the scoring column as freshman forward Krystal Carlson scored just before the break off an assist from Geer as the Cougars took a 31-13 lead.
In the opening two quarters, USF was a combined 14-of-33 from the field for 42.4 percent but just 3-of-12 from three-point range and missed their only free throw. However, they had a 21-15 edge on the boards and forced 14 turnovers. UIU, which was 3-of-18 for 16.7 percent from the floor, made 6-of-10 free throws.
Goodhope opened the third quarter with a three and two foul shots from Geer helped the Cougars to a 36-15 lead over the Peacocks with 7:56 to play. UIU had a 6-2 run to cut USF’s lead to 38-19 at the five minute mark. But the Cougars responded as Geer had a three-point play and Thramer hit her second jumper of the game as USF led, 43-22. Two foul shots by Hummel extended the USF lead to 45-24 with 1:13 to play in the quarter.
The Cougars opened the fourth quarter with baskets from Harris and Hummel for a 49-24 lead with nine minutes to go. With 7:46 on the clock, Hummel connected from three-point distance to double up UIU at 52-26. With a three pointer from Sanders at the 7:15 mark, USF built a 55-28 advantage. Later, UIU had a 5-0 run, including a three from Laker Ward, but it was too little too late for the home-standing Peacocks, which dropped a 37th straight league game.