Women’s basketball moves 12-0 at home

Allison Mueller

Sam Thiel/ Winonan

The Winona State University women’s basketball team got back to its winning ways, claiming a 65-63 victory over Bemidji State Friday as well as a win against Minnesota Crookston 70-58 in McCown Gym.

The Warriors raced out of the starting gates on Friday, beginning the contest against Bemidji State with a 13-4 run. Connor Nagle scored five points during the run, and Alexis Foley chipped in a trey to increase the advantage to 16-6 with 12:28 left.

Bemidji State answered with its own run: this one good for a 16-4 score, reclaiming the lead 22-20 with less than seven minutes remaining in the half thanks to a triple by Sarah Durand. Kali Hackmann and Hannah McGlone each were able to knock down baskets to knot the game up at 22 and 24 respectively, but the Beavers extended their lead to 29-24 with 3:12 in the half.

Winona State used a run of their own, heading into the locker room clinging to a 31-29 lead due to a 7-0 run that included consecutive baskets from Roelofs and a basket plus the foul by Nagle.

Nagle was the leading scorer for the Warriors in the opening 20 minutes, posting eight points after going 3-of-7 from the floor. As a team, Winona State shot 42.4 percent on the hardwood and limited Bemidji State to only 34.5 percent from the field.

The Warriors would continue their run to start the second half, going on a 9-2 run to claim a 42-35 advantage with 15:23 remaining.

Bemidji State took control for the next five minutes, taking a 54-46 lead thanks to a 19-4 run highlighted by a Hannah Zerr three-pointer and a Sierra Senske layup to give her 19 points on the night with roughly 10 minutes left.

The Warriors stopped the bleeding with a basket by Foley and a Nagle three-pointer to cut the deficit to 54-51 with less than seven minutes remaining. Foley then took the ball and connected with Kayla Timmerman for the lay-up to tie things up at 54.

Nagle connected on another triple to bring the Warriors within one, 59-58, with 2:28 remaining. Caitie Zepczyk sunk a free throw to tie it up again at 59 and Foley putting Winona State ahead 61-59 with a little over a minute left in regulation.

Bemidji State replied with a pair of free throws of their own to tie the game at 61 before Foley used a double screen to get free to the basket for the go-ahead lay-up.

Senske got another basket to fall for the Beavers to knot it up one last time at 63. With time winding down, Winona State lost possession of the ball. In a loose scramble a Beaver grabbed the ball and tried to call timeout.

But they were out of timeouts, causing a technical foul. Tara Roelofs was given two free throws for the Warriors. Roelofs made both, icing the win for Winona State.

The Warriors ended the game with a 44.6 shooting percentage and held the Beavers to 39.7 percent.

The Foley-Nagle-Roelofs trio teamed up for 46 of Winona State’s 65 points. Nagle ended her night with a trio of three-pointers on eight attempts. The team shot 4-of-17 from downtown.

“The most important thing about runs during a game is that they give you momentum and a cushion to work with which puts a lot of pressure on the other team to execute more precisely,” Coach Scott Ballard said. “Most of the time, runs occur in a game because of consecutive defensive stops which was the case in both of our games last weekend.”

The women’s basketball team completed its weekend sweep, this time with a little more breathing room as the Warriors claimed a 70-58 victory over Minnesota Crookston Saturday in McCown Gym.

The junior guard duo of Connor Nagle and Alexis Foley netted 18 points each, with Nagle shooting 6-of-8 from the floor including 4-of-5 from deep. Foley shot 7-of-13 from the hardwood while dishing out a game-best five assists.

Minnesota Crookston flew out to a 6-0 advantage to begin the contest, but the Warriors responded with a 12-4 run of their own highlighted by a Foley triple to take the 12-10 lead with 14:31 left and increased the lead to 17-10 thanks to a personal 5-0 run by Nagle.

However, the Golden Eagles would strike back with an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead with 8:05 left in the opening 20 minutes. The Warriors used the three-ball to their advantage over the next seven minutes with triples from Kali Hackmann, Emily Passint and Nagle to give Winona State the lead 30-22 with about a minute left in the half.

The Golden Eagles pulled to within three, but the Warriors took a 32-27 advantage into the locker rooms after a buzzer-beater basket by Tara Roelofs.

As a team, Winona State shot 46.2 percent in the opening 20 minutes while the Golden Eagles just shot 40.7 percent. Foley and Timmerman led the way for the Warriors with seven apiece while Alexa Thielman led everybody with 13.

After Foley scored to start the second half, Nagle went on a hot streak, hitting a layup, two free throws, a triple, and another basket to give the Warriors an eight-point lead, 43-35. After free throws from Hannah McGlone to give Winona State a double-digit lead, Thielman hit a shot to cut the deficit to eight but Foley got a jumper to fall to give the Warriors a double-digit lead that never wavered.

Winona State built its lead to as much as 17, 64-47, after another trey by Nagle and would reach that pinnacle once more at 70-53 with 2:44 left thanks to a Foley lay-up before reaching the games end score.

Ballard said, “We were able to win the game against Bemidji because of our rebounding and ball security. We definitely played a more complete game against Crookston and shot the ball well from the perimeter.”

Caitie Zepczyk recorded a strong effort for Winona State, snatching a career-best 11 rebounds in only 15 minutes of play. McGlone was the third and final Warrior to achieve double figure status, netting six rebounds to go along with her ten points.

The Warriors were able to shoot more than 50 percent (52.9%) from the field while limiting Minnesota Crookston to a 41.5 percent clip. Winona State won the rebounding (33-24), bench scoring (22-5) and blocks (2-0) battle as well. The Warriors also hit eight of their 15 attempts from downtown while the Golden Eagles hit the same number with ten more attempts.

Winona State (15-5 overall, 11-5 NSIC) will begin its final road trip of the season with a four-game stretch starting with St. Cloud State on Friday and Minnesota Duluth on Saturday.

Ballard said, “We have to prove that we can go on the road and bring the same focus, energy and execution that we have when we play at home.”