Women’s basketball returns home with weekend sweep

Allison Mueller

Sam Thiel/ Winonan

The Winona State University women’s basketball team looked to fix its road woes Friday against St. Cloud State.

Thanks to some key defensive plays by Connor Nagle and a solid outing from Alexis Foley, the Warriors snagged a 64-61 victory.

The Warriors, whose previous road victory was Dec. 20 against Upper Iowa, overcame a sluggish start as St. Cloud grabbed a quick 10-5 advantage with a little more than 17 minutes left in the opening half.

Winona State struck back with a 11-0 run over the next five minutes. After a layup from Jenny Weiland the Warrior defense kept the Huskies in check to claim a 16-10 advantage with 9:21 remaining.

St. Cloud stayed within striking distance throughout the rest of the first half, keeping the deficit to within five and eventually cut it to two, 26-24, with a little more than 4 minutes left.

The Warriors ended the opening half on an 8-1 run to post a 34-25 advantage as the teams headed into the locker rooms.

The Warrior defense took care of the Huskies in the first half, limiting them to 30 percent shooting (9-of-30) while Winona State connected on 12 of their 28 shot attempts (42.86 percent).

The Warriors got into some foul trouble in the first half as well, with four starters picking up a pair of violations. The Huskies had five players with at least two fouls as well in the half.

Winona State’s bench play netted 22 of the Warriors’ opening 34 points, with a career-high 13 from Jenny Weiland and six from Kayla Timmerman.

“What worked well for us on the offensive end was attacking,” Weiland said. “We have been focusing on drawing fouls and getting to the rim, especially when our shots are not falling.”

The start of the second half saw a 14-5 Huskie run in the opening four minutes of the half to knot the game up at 39.

The Warriors were able to pull ahead by eight with a three-pointer from Nagle with 11:38 left. This gave Winona State a 51-43 lead-the largest advantage the Warriors would see the rest of the way.

With 6:27 the Huskies tied things up at 53 thanks to a 10-2 run. St. Cloud carried on to claim its first lead since the first half with 2:11 left in the game, 61-60.

The Warriors would respond with a pair of free throws from Foley after drawing the foul to put Winona State back out in front, 62-61.

Both squads went go scoreless the majority of the half until it seemed like St. Cloud would get a shot at taking the game with five ticks remaining.

But Nagle intercepted the ensuing lob pass to give her three steals on the night and get fouled with just 2.7 seconds to go. Two free throws later, the Warriors took a 64-61 lead and the win.

Foley recorded a game-high 21 points on just 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and missed one shot from the line (9-of-10). Weiland also posted double-figures with 13 points. Timmerman contributed nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds, nine of which came on the defensive end, to go along with a pair of swats. Nagle had seven points, five assists and three steals to lead the way in both categories for Winona State.

The Warriors, once again, used solid outings from its defense and bench to wrap up the weekend with a 67-47 sweep against Minnesota Duluth Saturday.

Just like they did less than 24 hours earlier, the Warriors got out to a slow start as the Bulldogs claimed a 4-3 advantage while Winona State hit one shot in the opening four and a half minutes of the contest.

The Warriors stopped the bleeding with their bench play, going on a 16-0 run in a 4:21 stretch to make it 19-4. Timmerman and Emily Passint came off the bench to score 12 of the 16 points in the run for the Warriors.

The Warriors kept its double-digit advantage for the rest of the opening 20 minutes and take a 31-16 lead at the break.

Winona State put on an offensive display in the first half, hitting 14 of their 29 attempts (48.28 percent).  The defense also limited the Bulldogs to only 20 percent shooting from the floor and forced nine turnovers.

Timmerman led the first half scoring for the Warriors with 13 points coming off of the bench while shooting 60 percent.

Despite Minnesota Duluth cutting the deficit to 12 in the second half, 33-21, the Warriors increased their lead to 20, 47-27. The Bulldogs did not get closer than 14 points to the Warrior’s score.

Minnesota Duluth cut the score to 47-33 with 11:46 left, but the Warriors put the nail in the coffin with an 18-8 run throughout the next 10 minutes, ending with an Allison Hocking layup to give Winona State a 65-41 advantage—wits largest one of the game.

Timmerman was the lone Warrior in double-figures, going 9-of-14 from the floor to record a game-high 20 points. Besides Timmerman, the Warriors saw scores from Tara Roelofs, Caitie Zepczyk and Passint, all with eight each.

Hannah McGlone cleaned the glass for six boards and Alexis Foley dished out five assists to add to Winona State’s effort.

The Warrior defense forced 19 Bulldog turnovers and a shooting percentage of 30 percent from the floor, including a 0-for-19 mark from behind the three-point line.

“We have been holding our opponents below 40 percent shooting all year,” coach Scott Ballard said. “That is why we are ranked 23 nationally in defense. Winning on the road is a challenging task for everyone in our league and it gives us confidence to build on coming down the home stretch of our conference schedule with two more road games this next weekend.”

Winona State (17-5 overall, 13-5 NSIC) will take its four-game winning streak on the road one last time as they head to Minnesota State on Friday and Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday.