Stoltzman, Wall lead Mustangs to win over Winona

SMSU pulls away in second quarter to capture 78-61 win

Photo by Jake McNeill: Southwest Minnesota State guard Sam Wall shoots a midrange jumper during the third quarter of a womens basketball game against Winona State in Marshall on Saturday. The Mustangs defeated the Warriors 78-61.

MARSHALL — Four Mustangs scored in double figures on Saturday afternoon as the Southwest Minnesota State womens basketball team pulled away for a 78-61 win over Winona State.

The win comes a day after the Mustangs fell short in a battle against No. 22 Minnesota State, with the Mavericks downing the Mustangs 87-67 behind a combined 42 points from Natalie Bremer and Destinee Bursch. SMSU head coach Tom Webb said that he told the team that they just needed to leave the Friday night loss in the rearview mirror and focus on the next game as they looked to bounce back against the Warriors on Saturday.

The Mustangs got off to a cold start in the first quarter against Winona State, turning the ball over five times in the first five minutes. The Warriors took advantage and, with two minutes remaining in the frame, led 18-11 with six different players scoring points.

From there, however, the Mustangs settled down offensively. After another turnover in the final minutes of the first quarter gave them six, the Mustangs turned the ball over just five times in the remaining three quarters.

A Bri Stoltzman 3-pointer cut the deficit to 4 points at the end of the first half, 18-14, but Winona State responded with a 3-pointer from Olivia Gamoke and a jumper from Alex Dornfeld to put the Warriors up 23-14 for their largest lead of the game.

Facing a 25-16 deficit three minutes into the second quarter, the Mustangs’ offense got active. Stoltzman knocked down a 3-pointer and a layup, Hannah Parsley added another layup and Brynn Busse converted from 3-point range to give the Mustangs a 10-0 run to capture their first lead of the game. If that wasn’t enough, Stoltzman and Madison Gehloff each scored another 2 points while Sam Wall knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to close the first half out with a 20-0 scoring run and a 36-25 Mustang lead.

Stoltzman and Wall led SMSU scorers on the day with 19 and 18 points while Gehloff and Parsley added another 11 and 12 respectively. Stoltzman was nearly perfect on the night, shooting 5-of-6 from the field, 3-of-3 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Wall also made a season-high six 3-pointers on 11 attempts.

While Stoltzman has been a scoring tear as of late, finishing each of the last three games with 18 or more points, she’s also been just as effective as a distributor. She dished out a game-high seven assists against the Warriors while Parsley and Wall finished with another four and three respectively.

“All my teammates can play so we just try to move the ball and share it,” Stoltzman said. “Staying connected throughout the whole game so it kind of gets everyone involved.”

Vivica Bretton and Gamoke each knocked down a shot to start the second half, broken up by a layup from Gehloff, to cut SMSU’s lead back to 9 points with 8:49 remaining. Yet, Sam Wall hit a transition 3 to put SMSU back up by 12 just eight seconds later and the Warriors never cut the deficit to single digits for the remainder of the game.

SMSU finished the game shooting 46% from 3-point range and 49% from the field while holding the Warriors to 21% from 3 and 40% from the field.

The Mustangs led by as many as 19 points in the quarter and increased their lead to as many as 23 points in the fourth before subbing out their starters.

SMSU finished the game with a 33-31 advantage on the glass, led by six steals apiece from Stoltzman, Gehloff and Parsley. Gehloff’s three offensive boards were a game-high but the Warriors finished with a 9-5 advantage on the offensive glass, giving the Warriors a 12-6 advantage in second-chance points.

With the win, SMSU improves to 14-8 overall on the season. Their 12-4 conference record ties them with UMary for second in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference at 12-4. They’ll have another important pair of games next weekend as they’ll go on the road to face Minnesota Duluth (11-6 NSIC) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Concordia-St. Paul (12-5 NSIC) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

“We want to stay humble and hungry,” Stoltzman said. “We’re still learning, we want to keep grinding in practice, grinding in games. We’re not where we want to be yet but we know we can get there. We just want to keep fighting in these games.”


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