SMSU women go cold in 2nd half vs. Wildcats

The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team had a strong first half against Wayne State College (Neb.) on Friday night, never letting the Wildcats build more than a five-point lead while tying the game three times.

But the Mustang offense sputtered in the second half and Wayne State rolled to a 59-40 win over the Mustangs in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play.

“We were aggressive defensively, rotating (in the first half),” said SMSU head coach Allison Kruger. “We were making the hustle plays.”

The Mustangs (2-31 overall, 2-17 NSIC) were able to out-shoot the Wildcats (15-8, 11-8) in the first half, but Wayne State hit a trio of 3-pointers, which were the difference in putting the Wildcats up 24-22 at the half.

SMSU was in control of the paint, scoring four more points down low, and also off of turnovers.

“We were just competing,” Kruger said. “I wouldn’t say our offense was very good in the first half, but we were just competing and finding ways to keep ourselves in the game.”

But Addy Roller hit a 3 to open the second half for Wayne State and let out a yell, which seemed to derail SMSU.

“One of their kids just screamed and was firing their kids up,” Kruger said. “You could see it in our eyes. It was an immediate deflation.”

The Mustangs offense was unable to get going again in the second half, shooting just 23-percent from the floor while the Wildcats shot nearly 58-percent.

“In the second half they made some adjustments defensively, and we didn’t counter that,” Kruger said. “We had tunnel vision, we weren’t moving the ball at all.”

SMSU will play host to Augustana College (S.D.) tonight to close the home season.