SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) – With roughly one minute left in the game, Jaicee Ulmer powered a Mustang forward out of her position and switched hands for a left-handed layup that capped the day’s scoring for the Cougars.
The points were two of the 42 that the University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball team (5-0, 1-0 NSIC) scored in the paint in today’s 70-60 win against Southwest Minnesota State (2-3, 0-1 NSIC) in front of a crowd of 793 Saturday afternoon at the Stewart Center.
The Cougars outscored SMSU in the paint, 42-18. Senior forward Laura Johnson led all players with 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. She also collected a game-high 10 rebounds for her third double-double in the Cougars’ first five contests. The Cedar Falls native led a trio of Cougars in double digits, as Sam Knecht finished with 14-and-8 and Ulmer added 13 off the bench.
Alison Nagel paced the Mustangs on offense, finishing with 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Mustangs jumped in front 5-0 before Taylor Varsho drained a three-pointer to put the Cougars on the board. USF then headed to the paint, netting eight straight points with two Johnson baseline drives coupled with a pair of pull-up jumpers by Shelby Hemmann to lead 12-11 with 14:01 to play. It started a 9-0 run for the Cougars that was capped by a team effort bucket, when they looped the ball around the horn before Ulmer dumped a pass to a wide-open Knecht under the basket for the 19-11 advantage.
But the Cougars couldn’t get out of their own way the rest of the half, committing seven turnovers and being slapped with three offensive player control fouls to let the visiting Mustangs come all the way back with a 15-4 spurt to grab a 26-23 lead with under four minutes to play. After exchanging points, Marie Malloy went 1-for-2 from the line to send the teams to the locker room tied at 27-all.
Things got off to a slow start after the break, as the squads split the first eight points to keep things level at 31-31 with 16:34 on the clock. The Cougars led 39-38 after the first media timeout and continued to pour in the points from close range, while the Mustangs went nearly seven minutes without scoring a bucket. Johnson’s three at the 7:53 mark ended the Cougars’ run of 12 straight points in the paint and opened up a 12-point lead for USF at 54-42. The Mustangs responded with a three to end their cold streak, but the Cougars muscled their way to a 7-0 run that saw Bailey Bouman’s layup give USF its largest advantage at 61-45 and put the game out of reach.
Taylor Varsho chipped in seven points while Hemmann and Malloy had six points.
The Cougars shot 42.9 percent from the floor (27-for-63) and went 11-for-18 (61.1%) from the line. They out-rebounded SMSU 48-33, including an 18-11 edge on the offensive glass and committed 15 turnovers to 14 for the Mustangs.
USF will host Wayne State and Augustana College next weekend.
Couortesy: University of Sioux Falls