Wildcat women split NSIC road contests

After losing to a hot-shooting Winona State team on Friday, the Wayne State women’s basketball team bounced back to claim a win at Upper Iowa on Saturday to earn a weekend road split.

On Friday, Winona State used nearly 55 percent shooting and outscored Wayne State 23-13 in the third quarter to snap a 33-33 halftime tie on their way to an 83-75 win over the Wildcats in Winona, Minn.

Wayne State never led in the contest, falling behind 12-7 at the midway point of the first quarter. After trailing 18-9 at the 2:26 mark, Wayne State closed the quarter with a pair of Erin Norling free throws, a Norling basket and a layup from freshman reserve Kassidy Pingel to cut the Winona State advantage to 18-15 after one quarter.

The Wildcats trailed twice in the second quarter by six points and trailed by five at 33-28 with 1:54 to play in the half, but sent the game into the half deadlocked at 33-33 after a Josey Ryan 3-pointer and a jumper by Kylie Hammer.

The third quarter remained close until a late scoring surge by Winona State gave the Warriors a 56-46 lead. The Warriors used a 3-pointer from Caitlin Riley at the end of the third quarter to take a 56-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Winona State took their biggest lead of the game at 62-48 with 9:10 to play, but the Wildcats made a charge at the Warriors and got as close as three at 70-67 with 3:09 to play following a layup from Norling. The host Warriors put the game out of reach, scoring the next seven points to push the lead back to 10 and hung on for the eight-point win.

Norling led Wayne State with 21 points, her eighth game of 20 or more points this season. Brittany Bongartz and Halley Busse each added 15 points with Ryan scoring 10. Norling had nine rebounds and five assists, while Josey Ryan had two steals.

On Saturday, Wayne State bounced back, holding Upper Iowa scoreless for just over seven minutes in the second quarter to take control of the game on their way to a 78-55 triumph. as the Wildcats defeated the Peacocks 78-55 Saturday afternoon in Northern Sun Conference women’s basketball played at Dorman Gymnasium in Fayette, Iowa.  The Wildcats improve to 11-5 and 6-4 in the NSIC South Division while the host Peacocks drop to 2-14 and 1-9 in league play.

The first quarter was tightly contested with Wayne State grabbing a 14-13 lead after 10 minutes of play thanks to eight points from Norling.

Upper Iowa drained a pair of 3-pointers to open the second quarter to take a 19-16 lead with 8:37 remaining before halftime, but Wayne State (11-5, 6-4 NSIC) would hold the Peacocks scoreless for the next 7:05, scoring 15 unanswered points on their way to a 31-22 halftime advantage.

Wayne State held Upper Iowa without a point for the opening 4:04 of the third quarter and built a 16-point lead at 38-22. Upper Iowa got no closer than eight points after that as the Wildcats were able to pull away with the 23-point win.

Busse paced Wayne State in scoring with 17 points while Norling also reached double digits with 14.  Iowa natives Haley Vesey and Lauren Zacharias each added nine points.

The Wildcats return home this weekend, hosting MSU Moorhead Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Northern State Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. contest.

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