Women’s basketball ranked in top 25, move 17-2 overall

Women’s basketball ranked in top 25, move 17-2 overall

Allison Mueller

Victoria Larson / Winonan

The Winona State University women’s basketball team is ranked in the top 25 of the WBCA/USA Today Coaches’ Poll for the first time in program history, coming in at No. 16 while peaking as high as No. 9 so far.

“It is great for our program and our team is excited to be recognized for their early season success,” Winona State head coach Scott Ballard said.

The Warriors finished their nonconference season Nov. 24 with an undefeated record, beating their opponents by an average of almost 29 points per game. Winona State beat Saint Mary’s 90-68 Nov. 14 from seven 3-pointers by Connor Nagle before beating University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 85-44 Nov. 18 behind 15 points from Kayla Timmerman. The Warriors beat Viterbo University 89-33 on Nov. 21 and later defeated Loras College 81-50 on Nov. 24.

The Warriors then defeated Upper Iowa University 83-58 in their NSIC opener as Tara Roelofs scored 26.

Now No. 10 in the nation, the Warriors defeated Southwest Minnesota State 81-46 and the University of Sioux Falls 91-52 and continued their streak by beating Concordia-St. Paul 84-66, their 10th straight double digit victory. Nagle led the way with 21 points. Peaking at No. 9, the Warriors beat Upper Iowa again, this time by a score of 69-31. Roelofs led the way again with 12 points.

Winona State suffered its first loss of the season to the Northern State Wolves 55-60 before defeating MSU-Moorhead 52-49.

In a rematch against Sioux Falls, the Warriors were in a tight spot near the end of the game with Sioux Falls guard Taylor Varsho hit a potential game-winning 3-pointer from deep behind the arc. The officials went to the monitor to check if there was still time remaining. They deemed there was still 0.4 seconds left.

Also, they stated that because fans ran onto the court with time still remaining on the clock, Sioux Falls were to get a technical foul for fan interference, which would send a Winona State player to the free-throw line with a chance to put the Warriors ahead by one with 0.4 seconds on the clock.

Coach Ballard sent Foley to the line. She nailed both free throws to put the Warriors ahead by one. After the free throws, Winona State also maintained possession.

After the game the NSIC sent out a memo to all of the coaches stating the officials misinterpreted the rules and should not have issued a technical foul but they had no intention of making any changes.

After the unusual finish, the Warriors traveled to Marshall, Minnesota and beat SMSU 57-42. Sophomore forward Hannah McGlone grabbed the second-most rebounds in a single game by a Warrior with 19.

The No. 12 Winona State University women’s basketball team went on the road last weekend to face the University of Mary and Minot State. The Warriors fell to the Marauders 83-80 for their second loss of the season.

Winona State had a chance to force an extra session but Nagle’s 3-point attempt bounced out with just three seconds left after the Warriors rallied from a 9-point deficit.

Foley led the Warriors with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists while Roelofs chipped in 19 points and four steals. Nagle scored 17 points and hit four 3-pointers and junior Kayla Timmerman ended with 13 points and five blocks.

Winona State jumped out to a close advantage, 16-14, after a quarter of play but headed to the locker room at the half, down 34-32. The Warriors made three of their 14 attempts from behind the arc in the first half and went four of 13 in the second half from long distance.

After suffering an upset the night before, the Warriors bounced back, beating Minot State 98-57 while setting a new school record by hitting 17 3-pointers. Nagle led the way with six triples while Foley added four, first-year guard Liz Evenocheck connected on three, senior Emily Passint chipped in two and Roelofs and junior point guard Jenny Tuttle each added one of their own.

McGlone led the way in the rebounding department, pulling down a game-high 10 boards, helping give Winona State a 47-18 advantage on the glass.

Foley started the game with 10 points in the first quarter, helping the Warriors build a 22-12 lead. The Warriors then held the Beavers to a 10-point second quarter, leading 42-22 at halftime. The Warriors later built their lead to 45 points and pulled away for the 98-57 victory.

Nagle finished with 20 points and five assists, while Foley chipped in 18 points and five assists. Timmerman added 12 points and Evenocheck was 3-of-3 from deep, giving her nine points.

The Warriors dished out 27 assists as a team.

“We made the extra pass. Everyone was looking for the open shooter or trying to get the ball inside,” Foley said. “It was unselfish basketball.”

Winona State (17-2, 10-2 NSIC) heads back to McCown Gymnasium next weekend to face Augustana University and Wayne State.