SMSU women’s hoops team can’t catch Wolves

Coming off its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win of the season, the Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team didn’t do itself any favors in trying to get a winning streak going Friday night against Northern State.

The Mustangs shot poorly, were heavily out-rebounded, turned the ball over 21 times and committed twice as many fouls as the Wolves as Northern State cruised to a 64-46 win on its home court in Aberdeen, S.D.

Elkton/Lake Benton graduate and NSU forward Rachel Krogman scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Wolves (11-4 overall, 7-4 NSIC), who shot poorly themselves at 35.6 percent. But NSU held a 50-36 egde on the boards and took 30 more foul shots than the Mustangs (2-14, 1-10), though they only made 22 of their 41 free throw attempts.

SMSU head coach Allison Kruger said the foul discrepancy stemmed from the Mustangs’ carelessness on the defensive end.

“We just weren’t very smart with our defending. We wanted to pressure them but we didn’t do it intelligently,” she said. “We used our hands a lot instead of moving our feet and bailed them out with fouls. Mentally, we just weren’t there tonight as a whole.”

The Mustangs were neck and neck with the Wolves midway through the first half and tied the game at 17 on a jumper by Rebekah Rolling. NSU finished the half on a 15-7 run as the SMSU offense stalled. Eleven of the Wolves’ points during that stretch came at the free throw line.

Rolling connected on a 3-pointer just under three minutes into the second half to cut the lead to 37-32. That was as close as the Mustangs would get the rest of the game.

Krogman, Sadie Stotesbery and Megan Mutchler hit baskets on three consecutive possessions for the Wolves as they stretched their lead to double figures over the next minute and never looked back.

SMSU shot 33 percent from the field and made just four of its 11 free throw attempts.

“We weren’t taking very good shots,” Kruger said. “Were were playing too much 1-on-1. Tuesday night when we got the win we were playing really well, making good reads, good passes, but we just reverted to our old ways.”

Bree Holleman hit three of the Mustangs’ eight 3-pointers in the game and led the team with 14 points. She was the only SMSU player to score in double figures. Holleman aslo had five rebounds.

Alison Nagel added eight points for SMSU, while Rolling finished with seven.

SMSU continues its road trip today with a game against Minnesota State-Moorhead. The Dragons (8-7, 5-6) beat Sioux Falls 73-65 on Friday night.