Ballinger sets school mark to highlight WSC sweep at Concordia-St. Paul

Paige Ballinger set a new school record and had a big game offensively to highlight a Wayne State sweep of Concordia-St. Paul in women’s and men’s basketball action Saturday in St. Paul, Minn.

In the women’s game, Ballinger erupted for 27 points in just 24 minutes of playing time and became the school’s all-time blocked shots leader to help Wayne State to a 79-62 win over the Golden Bears, improving to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in NSIC play.

After trailing 7-4 early, Wayne State went on a 12-0 run over a stretch of 4:20 to take a 16-7 lead and still led by nine early in the second when the Golden Bears came back to tie the game at the break at 34-34.

The first part of the third quarter was back and forth, featuring six lead changes and three ties, but an 11-1 run in the third period gave Wayne State the lead for good, as Evelyn Knox capped the rally with two free throws to make it 51-41 with 2:20 left in the third.

Wayne State led by as many as 16 with 5:56 to go before the Golden Bears made one last rally, cutting the lead to 67-60 with 3:53 left. Baskets by Erin Norling, Maggie Lowe and Kacie O’Connor pushed the lead back up to 13 points and the Wildcats went on to the 17-point win.

Ballinger produced a game-high 27 points, playing just 24 minutes, while Norling added 12 points and  senior Maggie Schulte recorded her second double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds. O’Connor also hit double digits with 11 points. Anna Schmitt, the NSIC’s leading scorer, scored 24 points to lead Concordia-St. Paul. Ellie Gess chipped in 17 points with Brianna Miller adding 10.

Ballinger had four of Wayne State’s seven blocked shots in the game and became the all-time leader in the category with 170, surpassing the previous school record of 168 held by Jodie Boss from 2007-09. Halley Busse handed out a season-high eight assists.

In men’s action, Kendall Jacks scored a season-high 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting to lead Wayne State to a 76-57 victory over the Golden Bears, moving the Wildcats to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in league play.

The game was close midway through the first half with the host Golden Bears holding a 16-15 lead, but Wayne State took the lead for good on a Trevin Joseph 3-pointer to put the Wildcats in front 18-16.

After the Golden Bears got within two at 20-18, Wayne State went on a 16-4 run over a span of 4:20 to take a 36-22 lead with 4:36 left in the first half, then closed the half with a Vance Janssen 3-pointer and Kendall Jacks layup to take a 41-24 lead at the half and maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the second half.

It was the fourth time in five games that Jacks has scored 20 or more points. Other Wildcats in double figures were senior guard Brian Goodwin with 12 points and senior guard Matt Thomas with 11. Avan Ward scored 13 points to lead Concordia-St. Paul in scoring followed by Evan Wesenberg and Bryndan Matthews with 12 apiece.

Vance Janssen had six rebounds for WSC followed by Jordan Cornelius, Brian Goodwin and Tony Bonner with five each. Janssen handed out six of Wayne State’s 22 assists while Jacks finished with three steals.

The Wildcat men will be at home Tuesday evening for a non-conference game vs. Nebraska Christian with tip off set for 7 p.m. at Rice Auditorium. Both teams are home next weekend with NSIC matchups against University of Mary on Friday and Minot State on Saturday.

The Wayne Herald

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