SMSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: SMSU closes out weekend with 72-58 victory against Augustana
MARSHALL — During Thursday’s overtime loss against Wayne State College, the Southwest Minnesota State University women’s basketball team struggled to find the bottom of the basket, shooting 32.3% from the field and making just one 3-pointer.
Those numbers were quite the opposite on Saturday evening at home against Augustana University, as the Mustangs shot 40.3% (25 of 62) from the field and connected on 11 3-pointers to earn a 72-58 victory at the R/A Facility.
SMSU coach Tom Webb said they played at their pace and continued to move the ball well and make open shots, especially from behind the arc in the second and third quarters.
“I think it was our confidence and pace. We swung the ball, we weren’t just touching and holding it and having one pass, it was flying around and we attacked downhill,” Webb said. “And then we had open threes and we made some open threes, which was good. In the second and third quarters, we made 10 threes.”
It was tight to start, with SMSU getting a 3-pointer by Meleah Reinhart and a layup from Jenna Borchers before Augustana went on a 6-0 run to take a 9-5 lead with 7:47 left in the first quarter. SMSU would draw to within two on a jumper by Madison Gehloff at 9-7 with 5:10 left before Hannah Parsley tied things up at 12-12 on a layup with 2:26 to go in the frame, but Augustana took a two-point lead after the opening quarter.
The Mustangs opened the second quarter in strong fashion with Reinhart getting a 3-point play to give SMSU an 18-15 lead with 9:07 left in the first half before Bri Stoltzman connected on a 3-pointer to make it 23-17 a couple of minutes later. The Mustangs continued to attack, as a 3-pointer from Stelter gave SMSU a double-digit lead at 31-21 with 4:25 left before Gehloff and Abuk Akoi connected on 3-pointers to close the half to put the Mustangs up 40-27 at halftime.
SMSU kept up its momentum in the third quarter, with the Mustangs leading by at least 13 in the frame. Stoltzman got a layup to make it 49-32 with 6:57 left before 3-pointers by Borchers and Akoi and a layup by Gehloff pushed the advantage to 62-40 going into the fourth.
The Mustangs maintained that lead throughout the final quarter, as Stelter and Reinhart connected on free throws before Parsley drained a triple to make it 71-49 with 4:25 left and SMSU ultimately earned the 72-58 victory.
Stelter led SMSU with 13 points while Reinhart and Gehloff each added 12 and Akoi had 11. Akoi also led in rebounds and assists with 12 and four, respectively, while Gehloff added five rebounds and Stelter and Borchers each had three assists.
“We brought pressure and kicked it out; we’ve got a really good shooting team, so just trusting in the fact that we can kick it to anyone on the floor is key,” Akoi said.
Defensively, Akoi added six blocks while SMSU limited Augustana to 30.7% shooting (23 of 75) from the field, including just 25% (4 of 16) from 3-point range.
Webb credited Akoi for her ability to stretch the floor on both ends and force teams to make tough decisions when guarding them. He added they did a good job of getting the ball out of the post on defense without having to double-team players.
“Number one, she went over 200 blocks for her career, which is ridiculous and impressive. She’s grown so much on both ends and now she’s spacing on the offensive end, which makes us really hard to guard,” Webb said. “Defensively I thought we got a lot of tipped balls and dug the ball out of the post a lot and were able to do that without doubling, which is really good.”
SMSU (5-2 overall, 2-1 NSIC) will continue its homestand next weekend, facing Winona State University on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before taking on Upper Iowa University next Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
SMSU 72, Augustana 58
Augustana 15 12 13 18 – 58
SMSU 13 27 22 10 – 72
Scoring: SMSU (Stelter 3-7, 6-9 13; Reinhart 4-11 3-4 12; Gehloff 5-8, 1-1 12; Akoi 4-8, 0-0 11; Borchers 3-10, 0-2 8; Stoltzman 3-3, 0-0 7; Parsley 2-4 0-0 5; Wall 1-6, 0-0 3; Baxter 0-2, 1-2 1).
Rebounds: SMSU 43 (Akoi 12; Gehloff 5; Borchers, Baxter, Stoltzman, Parsley 4).
Assists: SMSU 12 (Akoi 4; Stelter, Borchers 3; Parsley, Wall 1).
Steals: SMSU 8 (Reinhart, Parsley 2; Stelter, Stoltzman, Wall, Blandin 1).
Blocks: SMSU 8 (Akoi 6; Stoltzman, Schoknecht 1).