USF falls in NSIC play to SMSU in women's hoops

SIOUX FALLS – Southwest Minnesota State (5-6, 2-4 NSIC) used a 31-9 second quarter run to build a double-digit lead and defeat the University of Sioux Falls Women's Basketball Team (8-4, 3-3 NSIC), 77-61, on Sunday in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play at the Stewart Center.

With the victory by the Mustangs, USF's 11-game series winning streak ended. The Cougars, which own an all-time mark of 12-2 against SMSU, led by 12 points in the first quarter but had turnover and rebounding issues as the game turned toward SMSU. The Mustangs used a 31-9 run in the second quarter for a 44-31 lead and then had a 27-19 margin in the third quarter to take a 71-50 lead after three quarters. USF outscored SMSU, 11-6 in the fourth quarter but it was not enough.

USF hit 44.1 percent from the field for the game as they made 26-of-59 shots. However, they struggled from three-point range as they made 5-of-22 for 22.7 percent. At the foul line, USF shot a season-low 4-of-14 for 30.8 percent. On top of those shooting issues, USF was outrebounded, 42-28 and committed 16 turnovers.

For the 50th time in her career, Kaely Hummel had double-digits in points with 17. Hummel was 6-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-5 from three-point range but was hampered by fouls. She was one of three for USF to reach double-digits as Jessie Geer had a career-best 15 points along with two rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes. Junior guard Mariah Szymanski supplied 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.

SMSU, which broke a three-game losing streak, was led by their leading scorer Caleigh Rodning who had 16 points and five rebounds. Both Meleah Rinehart and Jenna Borchers supplied 13 points. SMSU, which shot 55 percent (11-of-20) in the second quarter finished at 42.9 percent for the game as they made 24-of-56 field goals. They also had 9-of-22 from three-point range for 40.9 percent. The Mustangs also used a major advantage at the foul line (20-to-4). SMSU made 20-of-23 for 87 percent.

After USF opened up a 12-point lead in the first quarter and led 22-13 at the break, SMSU put together a 31-9 second quarter advantage to take a 44-31 lead to halftime. The Cougars, which hit 43.3 percent from the field in the opening two quarters, had 12 turnovers. Hummel had 11 points to lead USF at the break. SMSU, which had 11 points from Reinhart, shot48.3 percent from the floor.

With 4:39 to play in the first quarter, USF had eight points from Hummel, including a pair of three pointers, as the Cougars built a 12-6 lead over SMSU. A basket from Syzmanski increased the lead to 14-6 which was followed by a steal by Krystal Carlson and lay-up from Jasmine Harris for a 16-6 lead with 3:13 to play. After one quarter, USF had a 22-13 lead.

Then things changed dramatically as SMSU's press and dominance on the boards bothered USF. As a result of a 19-4 run, which included an 11-0 spurt, SMSU built a 39-26 lead with 3:09 to play. USF cut the lead to 39-31 but by halftime SMSU had pushed the lead back to 44-31.

In the third quarter, USF opened with a 5-2 run including a three from Geer to cut the lead to 46-36. But SMSU rebounded with a 7-2 run to push the lead to 53-38 with seven minutes to play. With 4:40 to play Hummel's three cut SMSU's lead to 55-48 but SMSU answered with a three of their own to regain a 10-point margin. Back-to-back threes by SMSU and a pair of free throws by Rodning increased the lead to 68-50 with 1:22 to play. At the break, SMSU led USF, 71-50, which was the largest lead of the game for the Mustangs.

In the fourth quarter, USF shot 50 percent (5-of-10) from the field and outscored SMSU, 11-6, but the deficit was to large too overcome.

USF will stay at home and host Wayne State and Augustana on Jan. 4-5 at the Stewart Center.