SMSU women continue slide with loss to Peacocks

The only two teams that had yet to win a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game this season met Saturday night when the Upper Iowa women’s basketball team played host to Southwest Minnesota State, and UIU won without much difficulty. The Peacocks held a double-figure lead through almost all of the second half and coasted to an 80-59 victory in Fayette, Iowa.

Both teams shot nearly the same percentage from the field (39.3 percent for UIU and 38.6 percent for SMSU), but the Peacocks held a 45-33 edge on the glass and hit 26 of 33 free throws compared to the Mustangs’ 10 makes in 22 attempts.

The win moves Upper Iowa to 1-6 in the NSIC and 4-10 overall. Following their eighth straight loss, SMSU is now 0-7 in the conference and 1-11 on the season.

Upper Iowa’s Carly Pagel was 9-for-11 from the foul line and scored a game-high 19 points, while teammate Whitney Kieffer added 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Forward Ellen Degler had a double-double for SMSU with 14 points and 10 boards, and Alison Nagel also had a solid game in the Mustangs’ frontcourt with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. SMSU guard Bree Holleman also reached double figures scoring with 11 points, but was just 3-for-11 from the field and 4-for-9 from the foul line.

The Peacocks opened the game on a 15-2 run in the first five minutes, but the Mustangs fought back and pulled to within a point at 27-26 behind a 3-pointer by Hope Bonlander with 4 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first half. Upper Iowa went on a 12-4 run to end the half and go into the locker room up nine points. The Mustangs never got closer than that the rest of the game.

SMSU is back home next weekend, taking on St. Cloud State on Friday and Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday.