WBB: USF Falls in NSIC Tournament Semifinals

SIOUX FALLS – The University of Sioux Falls Women's Basketball Team (23-8), which was the No. 2 seed in the NSIC South, had a 10-game winning streak come to an end in a 77-64 setback to North No. 1 seed MSU Moorhead (26-5) on Monday in the NSIC Tournament semifinals at the Sanford Pentagon.

USF, which reached the league tourney semifinals for the fourth straight season, was led by 16 points from junior guard Kaely Hummel while redshirt sophomore Anna Goodhope had a double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and junior guard Mariah Szymanski added 15.

With the loss, USF's 10-game winning streak, which began in a 95-47 home win over Bemidji State on Feb. 1 ended 32 days later on March 4 against the North Division's No. 1 seed MSUM. The Dragons, which fell to USF, 77-74, on Feb. 9, improved to 26-5 on the season and advanced to NSIC Tournament title game. As for USF, they will wait to see if their season continues when the eight teams are selected for the NCAA DII Central Region next Sunday, March 10 at 9 pm.

"We had some frustrations on the offensive end today but give MSUM credit, they made shots when they needed them. We certainly had a number of good looks but it just seemed that our shots were not falling," said USF Head Coach Travis Traphagen, who team is now 13-6 all-time in the NSIC Tourney and 2-3 in tournament semifinals. "I felt we played really hard to the end which has been a key for our success," added Traphagen, whose team lost two starters to injury earlier in the year but finished with the third most wins in a season (23) in school history.

Hummel, who hit 6-of-13 field goals, including 1-of-4 from three-point range, had 16 points in 39 minutes. The junior from Cherokee, Iowa, hit three more free throws and ended the season with 21 straight conversions at the charity stripe while reaching double-digits points for the 65th time at USF. Hummel now has 1,188 points in her career, which ranks 15th all-time at USF.

Goodhope, who had her ninth double-digit scoring game this season registered her third double double of the season. She made 6-of-12 field goals and tied her career-best with 12 rebounds while dishing five assists with a pair of steals. Szymanski, who now has 796 career points and 35th double-digit points game, made 5-of-17 field goals and had two rebounds. USF also had nine points from Jessie Geer.

USF primary issue on the day was field goals shooting as they hit just 25-of-66 field goals for 37.9 percent. But USF trailed just 11-10 after the first quarter when they made just 5-of-19 field goals for 26.3 percent. MSUM outscored USF, 23-17, in the second quarter for a 34-27 halftime lead. In that quarter, USF improved to 42.9 percent on 6-of-14 shooting. However after two quarters USF had made just 1-of-8 from three-point range and finished 3-of-17 from long distance for the game.

MSUM and USF both had 19 points in the third quarter as the Dragons led, 53-46. In that quarter, USF dropped down to 35 percent on 6-of-17 shooting. In the fourth, USF improved to 50 percent from the field on 8-of-16 shooting but MSUM extended their lead to 13 on the strength of 66.7 percent shooting on 8-of-12 from the field. Overall, MSUM hit 30-of-57 for 52.6 percent. In the game, MSUM had five more made field goals, two more triples and one more free throw while own a 38-30 rebound margin over USF . Junior Megan Hintz had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Dragons.

While losing the rebounding battle hurt USF, the Cougars forced 12 turnovers which they turned into a 20-14 edge. The shooting differential between the teams was the biggest issue. USF's ability to make shots and apply defensive pressure proved crucial in their 10-game winning streak. During that program- record winning streak, USF did not shoot under 41.8 percent (Winona State) and did not make less than four threes in a game. USF also had a rebound edge in seven of the 10 wins while holding seven opponents to 43 percent or less.

Game Breakdown –
In the opening half, USF struggled from the field and hit just 11-of-33 for 33.3 percent. The Cougars stayed in the game with their defense forcing nine turnovers and Hummel scoring 13 points. MSUM, which was 13-of-28 for 46.4 percent, had 12 points from Megan Hintz and 10 by Kiley Borowicz.

Early on, MSUM took a 7-2 lead after a three-point play by Jackie Volkerts at the eight minute mark of the first quarter. Goodhope ended a 5-0 run by MSUM with a driving lay-up as USF cut the lead to 7-4.

Goodhope, who had six points in the quarter, had a pair of baskets which allowed USF to trail just 11-10 at the quarter break. In that opening quarter, USF was 5-of-19 for 26.3 percent and missed all four of their three-point shots.

Early in the second quarter, Hummel converts a three-point point as the Cougars took their first of two leads of the half at 13-11. After a three from Borowicz, Szymanski had a pair of foul shots to give USF a 15-14 lead. Later, Hummel hit a three to cut MSUM lead to 23-22 with five minutes to play. Two foul shots by Hintz provided MSUM a 29-24 lead with 3:10 to play. Then, Borowicz knocked in her second three of the half as MSUM took a 34-23 lead at the 1:31 mark of the half. Hummel converted a three-point play for the second time in the half as the Cougars cut the deficit to seven (34-27).

Carlson opened the third quarter with a jumper but MSUM scored two straight baskets for a 38-29 lead. Goodhope had four straight points as USF cut the lead to 38-33.Later, Hummel converted a driving lay-up and with the "and 1" drew USF within 40-36. After a basket from Hintz, Geer answered as USF continued on a 10-4 run and cut the deficit to 42-39 with 4:42 to play in the quarter. However that was as close as USF would get in the game with just two ties and four lead changes.

After Volkert, who had 17 points and six assists, hit a three for a 49-39 advantage, Szymanski answered with three to cut lead to 49-42 USF cut the lead to 53-46 when Augusta Thramer made two foul shots with let than a second to play in the quarter.

MSUM opened fourth quarter on a 6-2 run and took a 59-48 lead over USF as Hintz scored four points and Borowicz made a driving lay-up. From that point on, USF cut the lead to eight points on two occasions but couldn't sustain a run as Hintz and Volkert continually made plays to keep USF at bay.

Tournament Breakdown –
In the three games of the tournament, USF, which defeated Minnesota Crookston, 89-74 and Wayne State, 103-76, won 2-of-3 games, including two by double-digit totals. USF averaged 85.3 points per game and gave up 75.7 per game. USF hit 44.6 percent (91-of-204) from the field and 40 percent from three (26-of-65) while converting a sizzling 92.3 percent at the foul line (48-of-52). Szymanski led USF with 18.0 points per game while adding 4.3 rebounds. She was 16-of-18 from the foul line for 88.9 percent. Both Geer and Goodhope averaged 15.7 points per game with Goodhope providing a team-high 8.3 rebounds. She was 17-of-34 from the field, dished 12 assists, and hit all eight of her foul shots. Geer hit 17-of-27 from the field for 63 percent and 8-of-11 from three-point range for 71.4 percent. Geer also had six steals and seven assists. Hummel averaged 14.7 points per game and was 16-of-32 from the field and 9-of-9 from the foul line. Additionally, USF had a plus six turnover margin and averaged 14.3 assists per game.