MARSHALL - Entering Friday night's game against Minnesota State-Mankato at the R/A Facility, the Southwest Minnesota State women's basketball team knew it had a tough hill to climb. Not only were the Mavericks undefeated, they had also won the last 11 meetings between the two schools.
A porous defense and 22 turnovers added to the Mustangs' burden, which proved to be too much for the young squad, which was scorched for 50 points in the second half of an 86-56 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference loss.
The Mavericks (7-0 overall, 4-0 NSIC) made seven of their 11 3-pointers in the second half to turn a seven-point lead into a 30-point win.
Photo by Travis Andries
Minnesota State-Mankato’s Ashley Olson, right, tries to poke away the ball from Southwest Minnesota State’s Rebekah Rolling, center, as MSU-Mankato’s Jamelia Hudnell looks on during Friday night’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game at the R/A Facility.
"That's everybody's defense, we didn't make any adjustments," SMSU head coach Allison Kruger said of her team's difficulty guarding the perimeter. "One kid hit three 3s in a row on us, that's something that can't happen. I thought in the first half that we didn't play well, but we gave ourselves a chance. We didn't play well at all in the second half and that's frustrating."
Jamelia Hudnell and Aubrey Davis combined for six of Minnesota State's 11 second-half triples, as the duo combined for 27 points on the night. Davis' first 3-pointer came with 15 minutes, 32 seconds to go in the game and in the middle of an 8-0 run for the Mavericks. Another deep ball from Ashley Olson gave the Mavericks a 45-32 lead just five minutes into the second half.
The Mustangs were unable to keep pace in the game of runs, as each time SMSU would begin gathering confidence, the Mavericks would knock down a 3 and go on a run in response.
Minnesota State (86)
Aubrey Davis 4 3-5 14, Alli Hoefer 1 0-0 2, Ashley Olson 3 3-4 12, Steffaney Thomas 1 2-2 4, Jamelia Hudnell 5 0-0 13, Karlee Gengenbacher 8 4-6 22, Lexie Ulfers 2 1-3 5, Jamie Bersnahan 2 0-0 5, Ali Wilkinson 5 0-0 10. Totals 31 13-20 86. 3-pointers 11 (Hudnell 3, Olson 3, Davis 3) Rebounds 41 (Wilkinson 7) Assists 15 (Olson 4) Steals 12 (Gengenbacher 5) Blocks 1 (Ulfers) Turnovers 11 Total Fouls 17.
Mikayla Saathoff 1 0-0 2, Bree Holleman 3 2-3 8, Megan DeRuyter 1 0-0 2, Jessie Watts 3 1-1 8, Rebekah Rolling 5 6-7 17, Ellen Degler 1 0-0 2, Hannah Beeler 1 0-0 2, Hope Bonlander 1 0-0 2, Alison Nagel 5 2-4 13. Totals 21 11-15 56. 3-pointers 3 Rebounds 33 (Beeler 8, Nagel 6) Assists 14 (Saathoff 5) Steals 4 (Nagel 2) Blocks 5 (Nagel 2, Rolling 2) Turnovers 22 Total Foouls 19.
Halftime Score: MSU-Mankato 36, SMSU 29
"We gave up some key 3s," Kruger said. "We're not consistent right now and that's tough. It's tough to get a rotation and it's tough to know who to play, it's tough to know what to run. We need to find some consistency."
A team that was hoping to build off of a near upset against No. 15 Wayne State in its last appearance on the court took a step back against the Mavericks.
"I thought we played a good game against Wayne, but we just don't carry anything over into the next game," Kruger said. "It's kind of like a roller coaster right now. Instead of being a steady up, it's up-and-down, up-and-down and we need to make a steady climb. The longer we wait the harder it gets. Each game we don't take a step forward sets us two steps back. We have to find a way, we have to find a way for our kids to make shots. We have to find a way to make layups, we have to find a way to get ready to play."
SMSU (1-8, 0-4) shot 40 percent from the field (21-for-52), but only 23 percent on 3-pointers (3-for-13). On the other hand, Minnesota State shot 48 percent on all field goals (31-for-65) and made 46 percent of its 3s (11 of 24).
One bright spot for the Mustangs against the Mavericks was the play of Rebekah Rolling, who scored a career-high 17 points for SMSU. Alison Nagel added 13 more and was the only other Mustang with over 10 points. Minnesota State's Karlee Gengenbacher led all scorers with 22 points, including a dozen in the second half, and also had five steals.
SMSU led 4-0 after the game's first 90 seconds, but the Mavericks responded with an 8-0 run to take the lead and held it for the rest of the game. The Mustangs got within three points at 13-10 after a Jessie Watts bucket with 13:35 remaining in the opening half, but Minnesota State responded with a 7-0 run.
The Mustangs will need to put the humbling defeat behind them, and quickly. SMSU hosts Concordia-St. Paul at 5 p.m. today at the R/A Facility. Kruger is looking for her team to come out with a chip on its shoulder.
"All I said was, 'Show up tomorrow, show up to win, and if you're not going to then don't show up.' We have to (show up), and that's the mentality that you have to have."