MARSHALL - Northern State rallied in the second half to win a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game 57-46 over Southwest Minnesota State on Friday at the R/A Facility.
The Mustangs shot 5 of 27 from the field during the final 20 minutes and surrendered a seven-point first half lead to the Wolves. SMSU finished shooting 29.6 percent from the floor after shooting 40.7 percent (11 of 27) in the first half.
"Defensively, in the first half, we were phenominal because we kept Northern State on its heels and gave ourselves an opportunity to build a lead by halftime,"?Kruger said. "We just didn't make any shots in the second half. We have to learn how to finish our shots, create some shots and score when we need too."
Southwest Minnesota State's Bree Holleman prepares to defend during a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game against Northern State on Friday at the R/A Facility.
The 46 points and 29.6 percent shooting output were both second lowest of the season after scoring 45 points and shooting 27.6 percent against Cal State-Monterey Bay on Nov. 16, 2013.
The loss was the Mustangs ninth straight and the fifth straight to Northern State dating back to Feb. 27, 2010.
The Wolves began the first half hitting just one of their first 14 shots - a sluggish start after 12 days off. Northern State remained in the game despite the inefficient shooting because it dominated the boards. The Wolves finished with 53 total rebounds, including 19 coming at the offensive end. NSU finished the game with a 53-25 rebounding advantage.
"Northern State is the top rebounding team in our conference and we expected them to be tough on the boards,"?Kruger said. "Overall, it wasn't that we did a horrible job on the boards. There were a lot of tips that went to them. The rebounds that were glaring, in my eyes, were the ones that hit the floor that we did not get to."
Alison Kusler and Rachel Krogman led the Wolves as they each finished with 16 points. Krogman also led Northern State with 11 rebounds, collecting a double-double.
SMSU built the largest lead by either team in the first half as the Mustangs owned a 25-16 advantage. SMSU saw it shrink to five points with 27 seconds left before the break, but Alison Nagel drove to the basket and forced a foul. She sunk both shots to give a 29-22 lead at the half.
The Mustangs came out flat in the second half and saw their lead disappear in the first eight minutes. Northern State took over the lead at the 12:06 mark when Kusler drained a jumper in the paint.
From there, the Wolves went on 12-1 run to take a double-digit lead.
No Mustang reached double-digits as Alison Nagel led with nine points. Whitney Miller added eight more.
SMSU hosts MSU-Moorhead at 5 p.m. today.