Alexandria Carter/ Winonan
The Winona State University’s women’s basketball team was back on the court for the first time of the 2014-2015 season when the Warriors won their first of two preseason exhibition games on Nov. 1, defeating the University of Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjackets 67-51 in McCown Gymnasium.
In front of 745 fans, the Warriors held onto an early lead. Winona State scored a total of 42 points in the paint, 21 points off turnovers and 14 fast break points compared to the Yellowjackets’ six points in the paint and seven points off turnovers.
Head coach Scott Ballard said the Warriors are reaping the benefits from a young team last year, seeing nine returning players and seven new to the team.
Ballard said, “This year we have strong chemistry and a lot more scoring punch than last year with more size, speed and depth.”
The first half ended with the Warriors leading Superior 33-25.
Winona Sate shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the first 20 minutes while holding the Yellowjackets to 25 percent (7-of-28). The Warriors saw six points apiece from sophomore guard Tara Roelofs, sophomore center Kayla Timmerman and freshman forward Hannah McGlone.
The second half was similar to the first as Winona State held a 42-39 lead with under ten minutes left at the media timeout. The Yellowjackets closed the gap to 45-43, but from there the Warriors went on a 9-3 run to secure the lead and extend it further, posting an 11-point lead with two minutes left in the game.
Roelofs and Timmerman each posted a game high 15 points. Roelofs, NSIC All-Freshman Team last year, picked up where she left off from last season where she averaged 7.7 points per game while knocking down 40 shots from behind the three-point line. Timmerman, a transfer from the University of Iowa, made all three of her free-throw attempts and grabbed six boards in her first game as a Warrior. McGlone contributed ten points and six rebounds against Superior. Junior Alexis Foley, a transfer from Illinois State University, and sophomore forward Jenny Weiland both added seven points to the Warrior’s total.
Although Winona State was picked to finish 12th out of 16 teams, Foley said, “As a team we want to bond together and go farther than anyone thought we could.”
Ballard said the women’s team is motivated this year and said, “We want to get better and prove that we are better than everyone thought we would be.”
Winona State will travel to Ames, Iowa to take on the Iowa State University Cyclones in its second and final exhibition matchup Sunday, Nov. 9.
The Warriors will open their regular season at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 vs. Crown College at home.