SMSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Third quarter run sinks Mustangs in loss to Beavers

Photo by Sam Thiel SMSU’s Sadie Stelter fires a 3-pointer during their game against Minot State University on Friday. The Mustangs fell to the Beavers 66-48.

MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State University women’s basketball team went into halftime of their game against Minot State University Friday night trailing by two points and held Minot State to just 30 points. But a key run by the Beavers coming out of the locker rooms proved to be the difference maker as SMSU struggled to find its shooting touch in the second half with the Mustangs falling 66-48.

It was all SMSU to start, as the Mustangs kicked things off with a 9-0 run. After going nearly three minutes of scoreless action, Minot State finally got on the board, and would gradually chip away at the lead. The Beavers later cut the deficit to one before taking their first lead of the night with 50 seconds left and took a 19-16 lead into the second quarter.

The Mustangs continued to stay aggressive on the offensive to start the second, as they used a 5-0 run in the opening minutes of the quarter to retake the lead. Both teams would then go back and forth throughout the next several minutes, with neither team holding a lead more than a few points.

Minot State then got a layup to go with three minutes left to take a five-point lead at 30-25, but SMSU answered right back as Sadie Stelter connected from long distance to bring it to a two-point game with 1:35 left. SMSU had an opportunity to take advantage after a pair of Minot turnovers, but couldn’t convert and went into the break down by a basket.

Coming out of the break, SMSU looked to gain control, but the Beavers had other ideas. Minot State caught fire to start the third, using a 14-1 run to take a 44-29 lead. Meanwhile the Mustangs struggled to find the bottom of the basket, with SMSU failing to connect on a field goal until the two-minute mark of the quarter. The Beavers ended the quarter with a 21-5 advantage in the frame and held the Mustangs to just two field goals on offense.

Minot State continued to control the tempo in the fourth, taking a 64-41 lead with 4:47 left on its way to the 66-48 victory.

SMSU coach Tom Webb said he was disappointed with their performance and added it’s difficult to get a rhythm going when they aren’t finding a scoring touch.

“It was a disappointment. You’ve got to score the basketball; we had looks and didn’t score. We couldn’t make two-footers and couldn’t make 22-footers,” Webb said. “If you don’t score, it’s pretty hard.”

Stelter led the way for the Mustangs with 18 points, all of them coming on 3-pointers, while Erin Baxter added 10 and Mateya Hutton had seven. Lauren Hedlund led in rebounds with seven while Baxter led in assists with four. As a team, SMSU shot 17 of 68 from the field (25 percent), including 10 of 36 from 3-point range (school single-game record for attempts).

Stelter said on offense they were able to make their shots in the first half, but just couldn’t connect on their opportunities in the second half.

“Offensively, we were making shots in the first half and that’s what you’ve got to do,” Stelter said. “In the second half, we weren’t making as many shots but we were getting shots. We’ve got to play defense and keep their scoring low.”

SMSU (4-16) will face the University of Mary tonight at 5 p.m. Stelter said they need to come in with a lot more energy and intensity and play better overall.

“We’ve got to play 100 percent better. We’ve got to play with more intensity and energy,” Stelter said. “U-Mary is going to be a bigger task than Minot was.”