Wildcat women handle Southwest, men fall to Mustangs

The Wayne State women’s basketball team had no problems in their win over Southwest Minnesota State Friday at Rice Auditorium, while the Wildcat men went down to defeat at the hands of the visiting Mustangs.

In women’s action, senior center Paige Ballinger recorded a double-double and Wayne State outscored Southwest Minnesota State 46-27 in the second half to pull away for a 78-55 win.

The first quarter was tightly contested with four ties and five lead changes, resulting in a 15-15 tie, but Wayne State scored the first five points of the second quarter to take the lead for good at 20-15 and taking a 32-28 lead at the half.

The Wildcats opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run, taking their first double digit lead of the game at 43-30. Southwest got as close as seven at 46-39 with 1:52 to go in the third quarter, but the Wildcats scored the final six points of the third quarter for a 52-39 advantage.

The Wildcats (21-6, 15-4 NSIC) made 4 of 7 3-pointers and 8 of 12 free throws in the fourth stanza, outscoring SMSU 26-16, to finish with the 23-point win.

Ballinger led Wayne State with 19 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She was 5-of-10 from the field and 9-for-11 at the charity stripe. Kacie O’Connor also reached double figures with 11.

Ballinger had four of Wayne State’s 14 assists and also had three blocked shots.

In the men’s game, Southwest Minnesota State built an early 16-4 lead and Wayne State could never recover as the Mustangs cruised past the Wildcats 75-60.

The Mustangs took a 16-4 lead just over five minutes into the game, forcing a Wayne State timeout.

Wayne State (13-14, 8-11 NSIC) rebounded and got as close as 18-12 on a jumper from Austin Esters at the 11:51 mark of the first half.

The Wildcats were still within six at 25-19 following a Vance Janssen trey at the 5:17 mark. Southwest then scored the next eight points for a 33-19 lead before finishing the first half with a 36-26 lead at intermission.

Southwest Minnesota State maintained a double-digit lead the entire second half while holding Wayne State to its second-worst shooting night of the season (38.6 percent) as the Mustangs posted the easy victory.

Junior guard Trevin Joseph had 15 points for the Wildcats followed by Kendall Jacks with 13 and Jordan Cornelius 10. Jacks led the team with nine rebounds and four assists, while Janssen had two steals.

Wayne State plays their final home games of the season Saturday against Sioux Falls, with games at 4 and 6 p.m. at Rice Auditorium.

The Wayne Herald

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