Women’s basketball take last home games


Natalie Tyler

Coach Scott Ballard discusses game strategy during half time break against University of Minnesota-Duluth on Friday, Jan. 31 in McCown Gymnasium. The Warriors lost the game scoring 59-72, and thereby breaking their four-game winning streak.

Austin Wallert, Basketball Reporter

The Winona State women’s basketball team had the ball in their court this weekend sitting at the number two seed in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) South.

Head Coach Scott Ballard talked reflected on the position of his team and the vibe of the final games before the tournament.

“This time of the year, how can you not have energy? We did a lot of things well this year to put ourselves in a position to have a chance to play a home play-off game,” Ballard said. “There’s a log jam in the South Division, we could finish anywhere from two to six, so it all depends on if we take care of business and what happens with some other games.”

Things did not bounce their way, as the shaky end to the season continued with two losses to Concordia St. Paul (CSP) and the Minnesota State University – Mankato (MSU-Mankato) Mavericks.

Ballard knew going in that the two match-ups were going to be tough for the Warriors.

“Every game, every team provides different types of match ups,” Ballard said.  “They’re (CSP) a really good offensive team, and they’re leading the league in three-point shooting.  They’re also a very good rebounding team, especially at the wings.”

The wing position was the biggest concern for Ballard, as he said both CSP and MSU-Mankato were bigger and more physical than his wings.

The Warriors were able to battle back and forth with the Golden Bears for the first three quarters, before only scoring five in the fourth while giving up 19, ultimately losing 66-47.

Junior Taylor Hustad led the way with 13 points.

Heading into the Mankato game, the importance of winning was huge for holding on to that home court play-off game.

But, the Mavericks, who were 11-2 on their come court going in, had other plans for the Warriors.

Mankato burst out of the gates to an eight-point first quarter advantage and never looked back, leading by 24 at the break.

Mankato secured the victory and the two seed in the South Division winning 86-53.

Junior Emma Fee led the way for the Warriors with 12 points.

These two losses dropped them from the two seed, down to the five seed in the South Division.

Normally, the five seed of the South Division has to travel to the four seed of the North Division, but, with the new tie breaker rule, Minnesota State University-Moorhead (MSU-Moorhead) will be heading to Winona.

Put in place just two seasons ago, if the five seed has a better or same record as the four seed and the five seed beat the four seed on their home court, the four seed has to travel to the five seed.

So, in this case, the Warriors finished 12-10 in the NSIC, the same record as the Dragons.

The Warriors also beat the Dragons on their home court back in Jan., overcoming a nine-point deficit in the final minutes, and winning in overtime 65-63.

This year, the new rule works in Ballard’s favor, as two years ago, it went against him as the team had to travel to Minot as the four seed.

With all that happened this weekend, it still worked out for the Warriors as they host the MSU-Moorhead Dragons at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25 in McCown Gymnasium.

The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.