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Women Wildcats win both games in b-ball

Rachel Vogt, Staff Writer

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The Wayne State Women’s Basketball team went on the road this weekend to grasp their 19th and 20th wins this season. WSC faced Bemidji State University on Friday and University of Minnesota Crookston on Saturday.

When competing against the Bemidji State Beavers, 11 different Wildcats scored to push WSC to a 77-52 victory.

“We prepared for the road games just like we have every other game this year,” said junior point guard Maggie Lowe. “Prepare hard during the week and the weekend will be easy, and that it was.”

The ’Cats led for over 35 minutes in the contest and allowed only one lead change and two ties. WSC trailed 6-2 in the opening quarter, but then went on an 11-5 run to take a 17-11 lead to close the first quarter.

“The 11-5 run was what really set the tone for the whole game,” said Lowe. “We came out playing extremely hard and determined to make the game easy for ourselves.”

The Wildcats used six turnovers to head into intermission with a 34-24 lead. Freshman point guard Halle Busse scored 10 points in the first half to lead WSC in scoring.

The ’Cats outscored the Beavers 43-28 in the second half. Busse scored six points in the third quarter, while junior forward Andrea Larson contributed five.

“Defensively we got up and got a lot of steals which turned into easy points,” said Lowe. “We just knew we had to play hard and everything would fall into place.”

The Wildcat reserves closed out the game, shooting 67 percent in the fourth quarter as WSC extended their lead to as much as 27 with just under five minutes remaining in the game before ending with the 77-52 victory.

Busse led the ’Cats in scoring with 17 points while senior guard Kacie O’Connor added 13. Senior forward Maggie Schulte also added 12 points and 10 rebounds to record her third double-double of the season. Schulte also contributed three assists while senior forward Paige Ballinger recorded four blocks in the win.

The Wildcats turned around to face the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles the following day.

“We knew Crookston was a tough matchup going into the game,” said Lowe. “We knew that their lineup was hard to match up with us.”

The Wildcats trailed once in the ball game at 5-4 following a UMC 3-pointer with 7:39 to play in the first quarter. WSC then used 8 of 16 shooting to take a 20-13 lead over the Golden Eagles.

“We had to play very hard and work for everything we got,” said Lowe.

UMC then cut the lead to two in the second quarter, but that didn’t stop the ’Cats from pushing the lead back to seven at 27-20 following an O’Connor jumper with 2:42 to play in the quarter.

Crookston outscored WSC 10-7 in the second quarter as Wayne State held a 27-23 lead heading into intermission.

WSC’s biggest lead in the third quarter was eight at 31-23 following a Busse 3-pointer at the 8:15 mark. After UMC cut the lead to two at 36-34, the Wildcats used baskets from Ballinger, Lowe, and Larson to increase the lead to eight again at 42-34 before ending the quarter with a 42-37 advantage over the Golden Eagles.

UMC got as close as four early in the fourth quarter at 47-43, but the Wildcats answered the rally and took their first double digit lead of the night at 59-49 with a 3-pointer from O’Connor at the 3:23 mark.

WSC made eight of 12 shots in the fourth quarter and sealed the win at 67-60.

“Defensively we didn’t execute as well as we should have,” said Lowe. “But we overcame and made shots. Sometimes you have to win ugly.”

O’Connor led WSC in scoring with a season-high 16 points to go with a career-high four steals. Freshman Forward Erin Norling and Larson each added 10 points in the win.

The win against Minnesota Crookston marked the 20th win for the Wildcat women.

“20 wins this season is amazing,” said Lowe. “If you win more than 20 games, your team is pretty special.”

The Wildcats will be at home on Friday and Saturday, hosting Southwest Minnesota State Friday night at 6 p.m. and Sioux Falls Saturday in a 4 p.m. game. Saturday’s game will also honor the seniors on the team.

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Women Wildcats win both games in b-ball