Lady Wildcats charging to the top of NSIC standings

WSC uses hot shooting, lockdown defense to win two games over the weekend


Richard Rhoden

Jordan Spencer drives the lane in a win over Augustana earlier this season. Spencer recorded a season-high 24 points in a win last Saturday over St. Cloud State.

Connor Ryan, Staff Writer

The 24th ranked Wayne State Wildcats Womens basketball team had in-the-gym range Friday night against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, shooting a then season-high 59 percent from the field and knocking down 14 threes as a team en route to a 91-53 shellacking.

The Wildcats recorded their fifth-straight win and improved to 14-3 overall and 8-3 in NSIC play.

The Wildcats were on fire from the field, as seven players recorded double digits in points.

Coach Kielsmeier spoke of the large number of multiple scorers saying, “When we’re as balanced as what we were that entire weekend, we will be tough to beat.”

Millie Niggeling led the way with 13 points, Ashton Yossi, Sadie Murren and Katie Hoskins all poured in 11 points into the victory, redshirt freshman Alex Nelson also had a career-high 11 points off the bench for the Wildcats and freshman Paige Ballinger collected herself a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.

Kielsmeier was impressed by his younger girls’ play.

“I’m just ecstatic about our freshman class and how talented they’re going to be for this program over the long haul.”

Of his team’s season-high in shooting Friday night, Kielsmeier said, “Our offensive execution allowed us to get open shots that night, which was outstanding, and of course you got to knock those shots down and that’s what our players did.”

On the other hand, Minnesota Duluth shot only 31% from the field and made six three-pointers that night. The Wildcats stifling defense left all Bulldogs under double digits in points. The Bulldogs had five players scoring six points in the contest.

The Wildcats then took their talents to St. Cloud State, where their white-hot shooting only improved in their 82-63 victory over the Huskies.

Jordan Spencer lead the way with a season-high 24 points while the Wildcats as a team shot a season-high 62 percent, breaking their previous season-high set the night before.

Kielsmeier gives credit for the hot shooting to the girls’ hard work, not in practice but after practice.

“You got to give our players a lot of credit. They’re in the gym on their own probably as much if not more than any team I’ve ever coached.”

The Wildcats used a 20-0 run at the end of the game to shut out the Huskies for the final 6:42 of the contest to win their sixth straight game and improve to 15-3 overall and 9-3 in NSIC play.

Of the final run, Kielsmeier said it started with lockdown defense and a strong transition game that lead to the impressive play.

“We had a lot of oppurtunities that led from defense to offense and got some open three balls and layups based off our defense. Our offense really looked like it was clicking right there but it was really based off of what we were doing on the defensive end.”

Leading all scorers in the game was Spencer, who exploded for a season-high 24 points after she was held in check for only 8 points the night before.

Kielsmeier credited Spencer’s Saturday night explosion to St. Cloud’s defense.

“The difference on Saturday between Friday in the point totals was that they played her one on one,” Kielsmeier said “It allowed her to be able to do some of the things she wanted to do.”

Spencer in total was 8-12 from the floor and a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe while collecting two rebounds.

Niggeling also finished her weekend on a strong note, pouring in 15 points herself. Yossi, not to be outdone by her teammates, scored 13 points of her own.

St. Cloud State was led by Carley Jeffrey who poured in 18 points to lead the Huskies.

Wayne State will look to keep their win streak going this weekend from the friendly confines of Rice Auditorium when they host Upper Iowa Friday night at 6 p.m., and Winona State Saturday at 4 p.m.

Wayne State is on a six-game winning streak, having not lost since the new year.