Women’s basketball split weekend at home

Winona+State+Center%2C+Ava+Sergio+trying+to+block+an+attempt+by+Minnesota+State-+Mankato+forward%2C+during+the+first+game+of+the+weekend+at+Winona+State%E2%80%99s+McCown+Gymnasium+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+05.+Winona+State+fell+76-51+against+Minnesota+State+University-+Mankato

Natalie Tyler

Winona State Center, Ava Sergio trying to block an attempt by Minnesota State- Mankato forward, during the first game of the weekend at Winona State’s McCown Gymnasium on Friday, Feb. 05. Winona State fell 76-51 against Minnesota State University- Mankato

Lucy LaValley, sports reporter

Winona State University Warriors’ women’s basketball team went up against the Mankato State Mavericks this past weekend in back-to-back home games.

Going into the games, the Warriors knew what to expect from their opponent, having played them in the past.

Second-year guard Caitlin Riley said the key to beating Mankato is not turning the ball over.

“Mankato is very good at frustrating teams and making them turn the ball over, and when they don’t turn teams over, they struggle to score in the half court,” Riley said. “On offense we had to focus on passing to break down their defense instead of dribbling.”

In Friday’s game, fourth-year forward Taylor Hustad got a double-double with a team-high 18
points and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Warriors came up a short in the game, ending with
59 points while the Mavericks secured 79 points.

The loss made the Warriors’ losing streak against Mankato go up to four losses.

Winona State also played against Mankato State the following day. The game started off slow for the
Warriors, but despite their loss the night before, the team showed up ready to play and was able to secure the win.

Saturday’s game was huge for senior guard, Allie Pickrain as she earned her 1,000 career point while
playing for the Warriors. Pickrain scored 20 points in the game, including the final points of the game in overtime.

Riley said due to COVID-19 and COVID restrictions, fans aren’t allowed in the stands at the games, making the atmosphere totally different for the players.

“I think the lack of fans is a big difference for all of us athletes,” Riley said. “A loud bench is very
important as it provides a lot of energy for the team.”

Riley said the team is looking forward to having games go back to normal, pending restrictions being lifted in the future.

“We are all excited for fans to cheer us on in person soon,” Riley said.

Fourth-year center, Emma Fee, led the team in points on Saturday.

Fee ended the game just 22 points shy of her season high of 30 points, which she made against University of Sioux Falls.

The ending score for the Saturday game in McCown Gym was 95-91.

Riley said the change from Friday’s loss to Saturday’s win was breaking Mankato’s press and limiting turnovers.

“We broke their press a lot better and on Friday, Mankato had many takeaways that lead to many points
for them,” Riley said. “Saturday, we didn’t give them as many opportunities.”

This season, however, is vastly different due to COVID. Practices are different and less often when the team is preparing and isolating for away games, but the Warriors still use their time on the court to improve their playing skills.

Riley said the team has been adapting and improving throughout the entire season so far.

“We have been defending and rebounding a lot better,” Riley said. “When we rebound, we win.”

The Winona State Warriors are back this coming weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, facing off against
Concordia University-St. Paul. The Warriors will take on the Golden on Friday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.
and Saturday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m.

Winona State University Warriors’ women’s basketball team went up against the Mankato State Mavericks this past weekend in back-to-back home games.
 (Rosalie Richardson)