by AUSTIN WALLERT
From The Winonan, WSU’s student newspaper
The Winona State University women’s basketball team was on the road this weekend for their final match ups in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) North.
With a game in Minot, N.D., against Minot State, and a game in Bismark, N.D. against University of Mary, this was by far the longest road trip of the season.
Heading into the game against Minot, Head Coach Scott Ballard spoke about his team’s performance the previous weekend versus Duluth and St. Cloud. Ballard said the main thing holding the team back against Duluth was the turnovers — they had 17.
In a game where the Warriors shot 46 percent and the Bulldogs shot 48 percent, you would have never guessed it based on the score.
With breakdowns defensively while trying to get back in the game leading to uncontained drives, the Warriors were never able to “trade buckets.”
As for St. Cloud, it was just an off night.
The Warriors were only able to shoot 16 percent in the first and five percent in the second. However, Ballard looked at the positives. The team only had nine turnovers and they did manage to have more shots.
“Sometimes you have a stinker game and you just flush it and move on,” Ballard said.
With this week’s game plan of staying solid on defense, taking good shot selections, getting out in transition and, most importantly, rebounding, the Warriors were ready for their battle against the Beavers.
The Warriors got off to a hot start at the dome in Minot leading 24-15 after the first quarter, before NSIC third leading scorer Mariah Payne and the Beavers dammed up the lanes to the hoop in the second and third quarters, and completely stopped the flow for the Warriors in the fourth quarter holding them to just nine points.
With another poor shooting performance combined with being beat on the boards 42-27, the Warriors just could not fight off the Beavers’ comeback effort, falling 68-53.
Not wanting to end the road trip with two losses, the Warriors were back to the drawing board for Saturday’s game against U-Mary.
Things yet again started hot for the Warriors, nailing 70 percent of their shots in the first quarter.
The only problem was the Marauders seemed like they couldn’t miss sending bombs from deep seven times in the first quarter and taking the lead into the second 29-15.
The second frame was more of the same as the Marauders cashed in their loot for 80 percent of their attempts and held a second quarter advantage of 20-17.
The Warriors were unable to gain any ground as U-Mary kept their ship sailing and fended off the women 82-65.
Junior Taylor Hustad was the lone bright spot in this loss as she was two points shy of her career high with 26.
The Warrior women will look to bounce back next weekend as the 13th-ranked Sioux Falls Cougars and the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs come to town looking for revenge.
These are the final home games before the Sanford Health Tournament with the Friday game tipping off at 5:30 p.m. and the Saturday game tipping off at 3:30 p.m.