SMSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Mustangs earn win in season opener
WICHITA, Kan. – The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team (1-0) opened the season with a 58-53 victory over East Central on Friday afternoon in the Fugate Gymnasium, as a part of the Newman Classic, hosted by Newman.
SMSU shot 26 percent from the field (17 of 65), 19 percent from beyond the arc (6 of 31), and 82 percent from the free throw line (18 of 22) in SMSU’s first season opening victory since the 2013-14 season.
East Central shot 32 percent (17 of 54) from the field, 14 percent (4 of 29) from the 3-point line, and 68 percent from the free throw line (15 of 22) in the afternoon match-up.
SMSU was led in scoring by sophomore guard Jenna Borchers who finished with 18 points. Meleah Reinhart was the only other Mustang to record double-digits in scoring with 12 of her own. Senior forward Caleigh Rodning led the team in rebounding with 10 and added nine points to the victory.
ECU was led by Sam Schwab who finished going 6-of-9 to finished with a double-double, 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Borchers started the scoring off within the first 20 seconds with a three pointer to set the tone the Mustangs would hold throughout. In the first quarter, SMSU kept ECU scoreless the final two minutes to create a four-point run for a 17-12 advantage after the end of the first.
The Tigers’ opened the second to knock down a three-pointer which would only give the Mustangs a two-point lead. SMSU would then keep ECU scoreless until a pair of free throws from ECU’s Madison Rehl would put SMSU up 21-17 with 6:35 left in the first half.
The Mustangs would go into the second half with a 31-25 advantage which they would extend in the opening minutes of the third quarter with a pair of free throws from Rodning and a layup from Reinhart.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter ECU attempted to come within single digits of SMSU. ECU would open the fourth with a six-point lead to close in at 50-44. The Tigers would use three consecutive baskets and a free throw to come within one point with 2:18 left in the game.
Rodning and Reinhart both would go on to knock a pair of free throws down for a 56-52 advantage with 38 seconds left. With no time left on the clock, ECU would foul Reinhart to send her to line as she could knock down her final two free throws to secure a 58-53 victory.
Southwest Minnesota State (1-0) will face Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) tomorrow at 10 a.m. to close out the season opening weekend.
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