Wayne State opened the game making 13 of their first 16 shots that included 6 of 6 from the 3-point line and the Wildcats gained a weekend split with Sioux Falls by dismantling the 22nd-ranked Cougars 71-46 Saturday afternoon in NSIC South Division men’s basketball played in Rice Auditorium. The Wildcats improve to 7-5 and 7-3 in the NSIC South Division while the Cougars slip to 6-2 and 4-2 in the division.
Sioux Falls got off to a quick lead as senior forward Teathloach Pal scored the first seven Cougar points in less than two minutes for an early 7-2 lead.
Wayne State scored the next eight points and took the lead for good on back-to-back treys by freshman guard Jay Saunders.
The Wildcats used red-hot shooting to slowly pull away from the Cougars in the opening half.
USF was within two at 15-13 at the 14:19 mark of the first half, but WSC went on a 16-5 scoring run and took a 31-18 lead following another Saunders 3-pointer with 8:21 to play in the half.
At that point, WSC was a perfect 6 for 6 behind the arc and 13 of 16 shooting overall to start the game (81%).
The ‘Cats maintained a double digit lead the rest of the half and held a 45-26 lead at intermission.
WSC ended the half making 16 of 24 shots (66.7%) and hit 6 of 10 behind the arc to go with 7 of 8 free throws.
Wayne State shut down the Cougars in the second half, holding USF to just 26 percent shooting on 6 of 23 while WSC used a balanced attack to maintain the advantage with reserves dominating play late for the 71-46 victory.
Jordan Janssen and Saunders led WSC in scoring with 11 points apiece while Nate Mohr finished with 10.
Wayne State ended the game making 26 of 48 shots for 54.2 percent including 9 for 19 from the 3-point line. The Wildcats were 10 for 12 (83%) at the charity stripe.
Teathloach Pal was the lone Sioux Falls player in double figures with 11.
USF made 16 of 51 shots from the field for 31.4 percent and was 5 for 16 behind the arc while going 9-15 at the free throw line.
WSC won the rebounding battle 34-27 thanks to a career-best 11 boards from redshirt freshman Justin Eagins.
Alec Millender had five assists with Saunders handing out four assists.
The Wildcats will be on the road next weekend for NSIC South Division games at Southwest Minnesota State Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m.
Wayne State nearly rallied from a 60-42 deficit with 5:20 to play but the late Wildcat surge fell just short in a 62-58 NSIC South Division women’s basketball loss to Sioux Falls Saturday afternoon at the Stewart Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. WSC falls to 5-7 and 4-6 in the division while USF is now 7-2 and 7-2 in the NSIC South Division following the win.
The Wildcats never led in the contest and were haunted by poor field goal shooting for a second straight day.
Despite going just 3-14 (21.4%) in the opening quarter, WSC trailed 16-11 after 10 minutes of play.
Sioux Falls built a 10-point lead (26-16) midway through the second quarter, but WSC closed to within four at halftime at 27-23.
WSC got as close as one at 29-28 following a Halley Busse 3-pointer with 8:47 to play in the third quarter, but the Cougars scored the next nine points and pushed the lead back to double digits at 38-28.
After WSC closed the deficit to 41-36 following two Busse free throws at the 2:21 mark, USF closed the quarter with a 50-38 lead.
Sioux Falls held several leads of 18 points in the fourth quarter until the Wildcats stormed back to make it a close game late.
USF held a 60-42 lead following a basket with 6:20 to play and still led 62-46 at the 4:17 mark.
Sioux Falls never scored the rest of the game. Two Busse free throws with 2:02 to play cut the margin to nine at 62-53.
An Ashley Gustavson layup with 45 seconds to play made the score 62-55 and a Kylie Hammer 3-pointer with 10 seconds left made the final score 62-58 as the late surge fell just short.
Senior forward Erin Norling led WSC with 17 points, 12 coming in the second half. She also moved into fifth place on the all-time scoring list at Wayne State with 1,537 points, moving past Karen Hochstein’s 1,530 points from 1999-2003. Busse and Hammer also reached double digits with 11 points apiece.
Wayne State made 17 of 55 from the field for 30.9 percent, going just 4-20 (20%) from the 3-point line. The Wildcats were 20-22 from the charity stripe for 90.9 percent.
Anna Brecht and Lauren Sanders each scored 11 points for Sioux Falls followed by Dallie Hoskinson with 10.
Sioux Falls shot 36.5 percent making 23 of 63 shots including 5 for 21 behind the arc. The Cougars were 11 for 13 at the foul line.
USF held a 42-36 edge in rebounding over WSC with Norling grabbing six boards for the ‘Cats.
Norling and Hammer each had three assists for WSC while Norling led the ‘Cats with three steals and two blocks.
The Wildcats return home to Rice Auditorium next weekend hosting Southwest Minnesota State Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m.