Busch reaches milestone, but streak reaches 11

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Sam Thiel/Winonan

A group of Warriors posted double figures in scoring, but it wasn’t enough as the Winona State University women’s basketball team fell to Augustana 80-71 Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Abby Busch netted a game-high 20 points as well as snatching eight rebounds to pace the Warriors’ offense. This was her eighth game with at least 20 points this season.

The senior hit 6 of her 13 attempts from the field, including 7-of-10 from the free-throw line, coming to within five points of being the 16th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.

Tara Roelofs recorded double figures for the third game in a row, finishing with 19 points while knocking down a career-high of five 3-pointers. The freshman has now hit at least three treys in three straight games.

Connor Nagle chipped in 12 points for WSU, connecting on three triples while also collecting six rebounds. The Warriors knocked down nine shots from beyond the arc on the night, with Roelofs and Nagle combining for eight.

Kali Hackmann added eight points and seven rebounds for Winona State while Kate Hartman recorded six points and six boards to add to the Warrior cause.

Winona State played stifling defense all night long, limiting Augustana to just 36.8 percent (25-of-68) from the field, including 30.3 percent (10-of-33) from beyond the arc.

The Warriors found their backs against the wall early, with the Vikings racing out to a 15-point advantage with 11 minutes left in the first half. The Warriors would answer with a impressive 25-4 run of their own, turning their deficit into a six-point advantage late in the first half.

Winona State went into the locker room with a three-point lead, but Augustana went on another run of its own, outscoring the Warriors 15-2 to increase its advantage to double digits halfway through the second half.

“Not all teams are equal in talent, speed, size and experience, so they try different styles of play that favor their personnel. Augustana plays a very aggressive man defense with a lot of gambling and trapping from the weak side of the court,” coach Scott Ballard said. “If you take care of the basketball, they will give you opportunities for dribble drives that we took advantage of throughout the game. However, we had too many turnovers that allowed them some easy scoring opportunities that we could not match.”

On Saturday, Abby Busch became the 16th player in Winona State history to score 1,000 career points, but Winona State fell victim to No. 8 Wayne State, 91-57, in Wayne, Neb.

Busch led the way for the Warriors with 14 points while also collecting six rebounds.

Busch, who needed just five points to reach the milestone, scored eight of Winona’s first 11 points to pass the mark. The senior is also just the eighth player in Winona State history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in their career.

The Warriors stayed closely behind throughout most of the opening half, trailing by nine with a minute left before the half. Wayne State recorded the final four points of the half to take a 42-29 advantage into the locker room and then used a massive 32-2 run in the second half to increase its lead to 41.

“Wayne State College, who we played on Saturday, plays strictly a big 2-3 zone which takes away drive opportunities and forces you to take more outside shots,” Ballard said. “We had a poor shooting night from outside and committed some turnovers that led to fastbreak points for them.”

The Warriors had a tough time taking care of the basketball, turning it over 19 times in each game.

“Our 19 turnovers came from trying to play too fast and force the ball. We need to stay calm and not force things,” sophomore Connor Nagle said. “Opportunities will present themselves, and we need to be patient and capitalize on those opportunities when they arrive.”

Kelsey Andrist was the second Warrior to score in double figures, ending her night with 11 points, knocking down five of her nine attempts from the floor while leading the team in the sharing department with four assists.

Nagle chipped in eight points, seven rebounds and three assists, hitting a pair of triples to add to the Warrior cause. Kali Hackmann nailed a trio of shots from beyond the arc to add nine points for the Warriors.

“We are looking forward to being home the last two weekends of the schedule and preparing to improve for the playoffs which begin the last week of February,” Ballard said.

Winona State University (8-14 overall, 4-14 NSIC) will finish the regular season next weekend with four games at home, starting with contests against St. Cloud State Feb. 14 and Minnesota Duluth on Feb. 15.