’Cats eliminated in third round of NSIC tournament

Nate Neary, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College women’s basketball team went 2-1 in the NSIC tournament.
WSC won its first two games—Wednesday night against Bemidji State 85-61 and Minnesota Duluth 80-66 Saturday—before falling to Sioux Falls Monday afternoon 58-49, ending the season.
Wayne State easily handled Bemidji State in the first round, only trailing once in the entire game.
WSC Center Paige Ballinger scored her 1,000th career point in a game-high 22-point performance. She also had six blocks in the game, moving her to second place all-time at WSC with 137.
Maggie Lowe hit a running 25 foot 3-pointer right at the buzzer to end the first quarter with WSC up 27-13.
The ‘Cats shot 54.5 percent from the field with Anna Martensen adding 21 points and Kacie O’Connor putting up 15.
WSC had a 23-point lead at halftime, and fought to hold off Duluth in the second half.
Ballinger did most of the heavy lifting in the first half, scoring eight of ten points in a 2-minute stretch to help the ‘Cats jump out to the lead. WSC shot over 70 percent from the field in the first quarter.
The ’Cats lead at half, 49-26.
However, WSC went cold in the third quarter. The Bulldogs outscored WSC 20-11 in the third during which the ‘Cats made only 3 of 12 shots.
UMD stayed hot going into the fourth, getting as close as six points before WSC scored 10 points over the next 2:30 to put the game away.
WSC shot 48 percent from the field during the contest, with Ballinger leading the charge with 22 points. Forward Maggie Schulte followed with 20 points.
The fourth quarter was the deciding factor in Sioux Falls’ win against WSC as the Cougars outscored the ‘Cats 21-9.
WSC started slowly, connecting on only one of its first seven shots. Kacie O’Connor finally gave WSC a jump start when she connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game early at 7-7.
Ballinger shot well in the first half, connecting on four of her first six shots for nine points.
WSC went into intermission with a 26-23 lead after Katie Hoskins hit three of four attempts from the charity stripe in the closing minutes.
The third quarter was a back -and-forth battle, with multiple lead changes and scoring runs from both sides.
In the fourth, the Cougars ran away with the game as they scored seven straight points while WSC didn’t score for nearly five minutes.
WSC shot 31 percent from the field during the game, as Ballinger paced the team with 20 points. Anna Martensen was the next highest scorer, ending her WSC career with 15 points.