Women’s basketball increases record to 10-8

Sophomore+guard+Emily+Kieck+looks+to+pass+the+ball+to+a+teammate+during+a+game+against+the+University+of+Sioux+Falls+on+Saturday%2C+January+26.+The+team+took+away+two+wins+against+Southwest+Minnesota+State+%0AUniversity+and+Sioux+Falls+scoring+71-69+and+64-50%2C+bringing+their+season+record+to+10+wins+and+eight+losses.+
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Women’s basketball increases record to 10-8

Sophomore guard Emily Kieck looks to pass the ball to a teammate during a game against the University of Sioux Falls on Saturday, January 26. The team took away two wins against Southwest Minnesota State 
University and Sioux Falls scoring 71-69 and 64-50, bringing their season record to 10 wins and eight losses.

Sophomore guard Emily Kieck looks to pass the ball to a teammate during a game against the University of Sioux Falls on Saturday, January 26. The team took away two wins against Southwest Minnesota State University and Sioux Falls scoring 71-69 and 64-50, bringing their season record to 10 wins and eight losses.

Nicole Girgen

Sophomore guard Emily Kieck looks to pass the ball to a teammate during a game against the University of Sioux Falls on Saturday, January 26. The team took away two wins against Southwest Minnesota State University and Sioux Falls scoring 71-69 and 64-50, bringing their season record to 10 wins and eight losses.

Nicole Girgen

Nicole Girgen

Sophomore guard Emily Kieck looks to pass the ball to a teammate during a game against the University of Sioux Falls on Saturday, January 26. The team took away two wins against Southwest Minnesota State University and Sioux Falls scoring 71-69 and 64-50, bringing their season record to 10 wins and eight losses.

Lauren Lott, Sports Reporter

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Winona State Women’s basketball won both of their home games last weekend, defeating two conference opponents on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve had trouble scoring 70 points this year, and both teams are good defensive teams,” Head Coach Scott Ballard said. “That was a big win for us.”

The Warriors battled Southwest Minnesota State University Friday, coming away with a 71-69 victory.

A combined 44 fouls were called in the contest. Winona State fouled 15 times, while four of Southwest Minnesota State’s players fouled out of the game. This allowed Warriors many free throw attempts, however they only came away with 18-33 on the night.

“We left a lot of points on the board,” Ballard said.

Winona State was unable to distance themselves from the Mustangs until midway through the second quarter, where senior Kayla Schaefer started a 15-5 run to bring the Warriors into the locker room ahead of the Mustangs.

Junior Gabie Doud recorded a season-high 27 points, scoring 20 of them in the second half of the game to help Winona State come away with the victory.

The Warriors gained steam from their win and brought it into Saturday’s match against University of Sioux Falls winning 64-50.

“I feel like last night’s game kind of prepared us more for tonight,” Ballard said. “I am pleased with our toughness, competitiveness, how we finished and how we controlled tempo. Our toughness and competitiveness really showed up in our defense and our rebounding.”

Winona State had a slow start in the first quarter, but a three-pointer by sophomore Julia Silloway at the buzzer started to change the tide of the game.

“Honestly, that was a big bank in three at the end of the first quarter because we were down 14-6,” Ballard said. “It kind of kickstarted us, got us excited about playing and believing that we could make some baskets.”

Three-point shots proved to be huge for the Warriors, Ballard told the Winonan.

“Honestly, when you’re in the middle of it, you don’t think about what that’s going to do. We just felt good that it happened,” Ballard said. “You have to move on to the next play, whether it’s positive or negative, you have to move on to the next play and keep doing that for 40 minutes.”

In the second quarter, the Warriors outscored the Cougars 25-7.

“Second quarter we were really good, we had different combinations of kids out there that made plays, I thought we played really good hard defense.” Ballard said. “They did not get very many good looks from three-point land.”

This explosive second quarter brought the Warriors into the locker room at half time up 34-21.

“When we finally took the lead and built on that, we felt good about ourselves going into halftime,” Ballard said.

The Cougars though found a way to get back into the game outscoring the Warriors by four in the third quarter.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well in the third quarter, but I like the shots that we were taking,” Ballard said.

This third quarter performance did not stop the Warriors from extending the lead to double digits in the fourth quarter.

“Going into the second half, the first five minutes is usually going to set a tone for one team or the other, either they are going to get back in it or you’re going to open it up, they kind of got back in it,” Ballard said. “Then, in the fourth quarter we got the lead back up to double digits. We did a really good job of using the clock.”

Unlike Friday’s game, Winona State were incredibly efficient in free throws, shooting 15-17 against the Cougars.

“We were very good at the free throw line tonight, which last night we were very average and got away with it,” Ballard said. “But we shot a lot of free throws this weekend, and that’s important.”

Schaefer led the offense with 14 points, followed by Pickrain with 13, Doud with nine, and Kieck and Rachel Novotny with eight each.

These two games showed a large improvement of statistics for Winona State as in Saturday’s game they dominated the boards with a 38-26 rebounding advantage, including 11 offensive rebounds.

“In the last three minutes, even when we missed a shot we would get an offensive rebound and get another 30 seconds, now they may end up fouling again,” Ballard said. “I thought we played with the basketball IQ tonight and played with toughness and focus. I thought we were very well prepared, I thought we executed the game plan well, and understood it and when they started to feel how much it was bothering Sioux Falls, that just gives you so much more confidence.”

These two games showed the Warriors offense working together efficiently.

“We are getting better with our offense,” Ballard said. “We are starting to be more patient and starting to see things that are opening up and we are getting the ball to people at the right spots at the right time. This gives us opportunities to play some power basketball and get to the free throw line. I think tonight might have been the best game that we’ve played this year, and it’s time to start seeing that, we’ve got a month left.”

These two wins put Winona State at a winning record of 10-8 (8-6 NSIC) going into their two away games next weekend against University of Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State University.

“You just take it one game at a time,” Ballard said. “We are on the road again next weekend and play two really good defensive teams that are having great years. Duluth beat Moorhead last night by 16, both teams beat us here last year. They’re good, they’re good defensively, those are the teams that I respect the most, are the ones that will hook it up on defense. They will both be big challenges for us.”

Both away games will be streaming online with the game against Duluth on Friday, Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m., and St. Cloud on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 3:30 p.m.