Wildcat teams finish off Winona State in home battles

The Wayne State men’s and women’s basketball teams came away with home wins Friday against Winona State in Northern Sun Conference action at Rice Audtiorium.

In the women’s game, Erin Norling hit the game-winner with 19.1 seconds left, but the Wildcats had to hold off three last-second efforts by the Warriors before ending with a 59-58 win to improve to 10-5 overall and 5-4 in NSIC play.

Winona State built a pair of five point leads in the first quarter (9-4 and 11-6), but a Norling layup with 10 seconds left in the quarter cut the Warrior advantage to 15-13 after one quarter.

The Warriors took a six point lead at 21-15 with 7:23 to play in the second stanza, but the Wildcats used a Norling jumper and a Maggie Lowe 3-pointer to tie the score at 26-26, then got a steal and layup from Norling to end the half and take a 30-29 advantage.

Wayne State held a pair of three-point leads early in the third quarter, but Winona State took the lead and led for most of the rest of the game, going up by as many as 49-43 at the end of the third period.

The Wildcats opened the fourth quarter with nine straight points and took a 52-49 lead on a Andrea Larson 3-pointer with 7:14 to play, but Winona State responded by scoring the next seven points and built a 56-52 advantage with 2:54 left.

A Larson trey got the Wildcats within one at 56-55 before Winona State pushed the lead back to three at 58-55 on a Gabie Doud layup with 2:12 to go. Brittany Bongartz cut the deficit to one at 58-57 on a jumper with 1:53 to go, and it stayed that way until Norling rebounded a Busse missed layup and converted from the left side of the basket with 19.4 left.

Winona State had three shots in the final seconds, but all three attempts missed their mark as the Wildcats hung on for the win.

Larson led four Wildcats in double figures with 13 points. Bongartz and Busse each accounted for 11 points while Norling finished with 10.

Norling grabbed eight boards for the Wildcats. Kylie Hammer and Bongartz each handed out four assists while Norling had three steals.

In the men’s game, senior Vance Janssen led five Wildcats in double figures with 21 points and freshman Nick Ferrarini added a career-high 18 to lead the Wildcats to a season sweep with a 92-79 win over the Warriors to improve to 12-3 overall and 7-2 in NSIC action.

The first half started out as a game of runs. Wayne State opened with a 12-6 lead, but Winona State went on a 11-0 run over the next 4:13 to take a 17-12 lead. The Warriors pushed the lead to six several times with the final one coming at 27-21 with 7:34 to go in the half.

Wayne State rallied and took the lead for good on a pair of Jordan Janssen free throws for a 31-30 lead at the 4:46 mark of the first half. Winona State got as close as two at 36-34 with 3:00 remaining in the half, but Wayne State closed the half on a 13-3 run to lead 49-37 at the break.

The Wildcats maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the second half, leading by as many as 15 at 77-62 with 6:43 to go until the Warriors made a run late and got as close as five in the final minute. Winona State closed within five at 84-79 with :48 left, before Wayne State went 8-of-8 at the free throw line to close out the win.

Vance Janssen paced Wayne State in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field.  Kendall Jacks followed with 19 points while Ferrarini poured in a career-best 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting that included 4-of-4 behind the arc. Jordan Janssen (13) and Trevin Joseph (11) also reached double digits.

Wayne State had one more rebound than Winona State, 32-31. Jacks had eight rebounds for with Jordan Janssen adding seven. Jordan Janssen had five of Wayne State’s 15 assists while Ferrarini was credited with three steals.

Wayne State will be home again Saturday for battles against Upper Iowa. The women play at 3:30 p.m., with the men’s game to follow at 5:30 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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