January 18, 2022


Only The Finest Women

SMSU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Mustangs end three-game skid, sail past Marauders | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo by Sam Thiel
SMSU’s Jenna Borchers looks to drive during their game against UMary on Saturday. SMSU defeated UMary 70-57.

MARSHALL — Strong starts have been tough for the Southwest Minnesota State University women’s basketball team, as the Mustangs have trailed after the first quarter by a combined margin of 239-143 and led only once going into Saturday’s game against the University of Mary.

Using a quick pace on offense and solid defensive play, SMSU turned a 14-8 advantage after the opening frame into a double-digit halftime lead before holding on in the second half to snap a three-game losing skid and earn a 70-57 victory at the R/A Facility.

SMSU coach Tom Webb said they did a good job of playing their style early and maintaining it into the second half before some foul trouble allowed the Marauders back into the game.

“We started out quick and got tempo where we wanted it. Our pace was great and we were downhill a lot, forced some quick shots, got rebounds and ran up and down the floor,” Webb said. “The third quarter we executed right away, got a big lead and then we got in foul trouble a little bit, changed our lineups and we didn’t score for quite a while and that’s what tightened that ballgame up. I think if we don’t get in foul trouble in those situations and stay with our lineup, I think we’re in good shape.”

SMSU held a slim 3-2 lead in the opening minutes before a pair of free throws by Meleah Reinhart made it 7-4 with 5:10 left in the first quarter. UMary would draw the deficit to one, but SMSU answered with a layup by Erin Baxter and a 3-pointer from Jenna Borchers to take a 14-8 lead after one.

The two teams traded points to start the second frame, with UMary connecting on a 3-pointer – it’s first of the game – to draw the deficit to three before another 3-pointer by the Marauders tied things up at 16-16 with 6:18 left in the first half. The Mustangs would have another response, though, as a trio of 3-pointers by Bri Stoltzman gave SMSU a 25-18 lead with 3:20 left before Sam Wall connected on a 3-pointer to push the advantage to double digits at 33-23 with 1:37 left, and the Mustangs took an 11-point lead at halftime at 35-24.

SMSU continued its momentum in the early stages of the second half, as a 3-pointer by Abuk Akoi made it 45-27 with 8:15 left in the third quarter before UMary connected on a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 48-36 with three minutes left.

The Marauders would connect on a 3-pointer to draw to within 11 going into the fourth quarter before a layup got them to within single digits with 9:15 left. A Borchers layup would put the Mustangs back up double digits at 56-43 with 7:32 left, and the two teams traded points over the next few minutes, but SMSU continued to maintain its lead. UMary would draw to within single digits at 63-55 with 1:16 left, but SMSU sealed the game at the free-throw line to earn the 70-57 victory.

Borchers led SMSU with 17 points while Reinhart added 12 and Wall had 11. Madison Gehloff led in rebounds with 10 while Reinhart, Akoi and Gehloff led in assists with three each. As a team, SMSU shot 34.9% (22 of 63) from the field, including 9 of 27 (33.3%) from 3-point range and 17 of 18 from the free-throw line.

Webb said their pressure on defense allowed them to move the ball quickly up the floor and create scoring chances from within the paint.

“We were forcing them to play fast and in turn that got us going both ways, even on a basket we got the ball out of the rim and got down the other way and attacked the tin,” Webb said. “At that point you’re playing out an inside-out which is where we want to play and we just need to keep doing that and keep growing.”

Defensively, SMSU limited UMary to just 30.6% (19 of 62) from the field and forced 11 turnovers.

Up next

SMSU (8-5 overall, 5-4 NSIC) will hit the road next weekend, taking on Northern State University on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before facing MSU Moorhead next Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

SMSU 70, UMary 57

UMary 8 16 15 18 – 57

SMSU 14 21 15 20 – 70

Scoring: SMSU (Borchers 6-13, 2-2 17; Reinhart 3-12, 6-6 12; Wall 3-7, 3-3 11; Stoltzman 3-5, 0-0 9; Akoi 3-6, 0-0 7; Gehloff 2-7, 2-2 6; Parsley 1-3, 3-3 5; Baxter 1-2, 0-0 2; Stelter 0-8, 1-2 1).

Rebounds: SMSU 44 (Gehloff 10; Reinhart 6).

Assists: SMSU 14 (Reinhart, Akoi, Gehloff 3).

Steals: SMSU 3 (Stelter 2; Baxter 1).

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