Searcy, Ark. – After being crowned NSIC Champions, the Northern State University basketball team continued into regional action today as the No. 8 seed, facing No.1 seed Emporia State. The Wolves played a hard fought contest against the Hornets, but fell short by three points in the fourth quarter. With the loss, NSU concludes the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 24-7.
Northern State took advantage of winning the opening tip by scoring first and going on a 7-0 to start the game. Although the Wolves captured their largest lead of nine points midway through the first quarter, Emporia closed the gap by cutting their deficit to just 18-17 after ten minutes of play.
The Wolves came out scoring once again in the second quarter, putting up seven unanswered points in the first three minutes. NSU maintained the lead for the remainder of the quarter, and the two teams headed the locker room with a score of 32-28.
NSU continued to create a margin in the third quarter, pushing their lead to seven points and entering the fourth quarter with a 49-42 lead. With 1:09 remaining, Emporia State tied the game at 65 all with a three pointer by Krystie Miller.
Both teams exchanged three point baskets to make it 68-68 with 24 seconds on the clock. The Hornets grabbed the ball back with just eight ticks left when Addie Lackey sank her second three of the day to put Emporia up 71-68. The Wolves called a 30 second timeout to advance the ball, however fell short in their final shot attempt.
Northern dropped their first game of the season in which they outshot their opponent from field goal range. As a unit, the Wolves shot 45.3 percent from the floor, 20.0 percent from the arc and 85.0 percent from the charity stripe, while collecting 38 points in the paint, seven points off turnovers, ten second chance points and 15 points off the bench. Emporia State sank 29-of-30 free throws, however were outrebounded by the Wolves 44-to-26.
Miranda Ristau led NSU statistically, tallying a team-high 22 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Jill Conrad followed with 19 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line.
Gabby Laimer also aided the Wolves offense with three made three-pointer for 11 points, while freshman Brianna Kusler brought down six rebounds and notched four of Northern's 18 team assists.
Seniors Paige Waytashek, Bethany Crosswait and Jessica Anderson exhaust their eligibility in their third NCAA Tournament appearance for Northern State.