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WBB: Cougars Fall at No. 21 MSU, 84-67

USF Cougars
USF Cougars

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KWSN) - A difficult season full of inconsistent play and frustrating road defeats for the Sioux Falls women’s basketball team continued on Friday night in Mankato, Minn. The No. 21 Mavericks (21-4, 17-4 NSIC) forced 21 Cougar turnovers and cruised to an easy, 84-67 wire-to-wire victory.

The loss dropped USF to 12-13 overall (9-12, NSIC) with one game left in the regular season. The Cougars shot 53% from the floor and went 5-for-11 on threes but could not recover from their own mistakes.  

It was another road game with turnover problems for the Cougars, which gave it away 10 times in the first half alone. The miscues led to 25 Maverick points and combined with 10 offensive rebounds by MSU, the Mavericks used their extra possessions to their advantage.

A little less than five minutes into the game, USF trailed 12-3 and had more turnovers (five) than shot attempts (four). Compounding the problem was that Holli Aggen picked up her second foul with 6:41 left in the first half, and was quickly joined in foul trouble by Alyssa Rushton, who was slapped with her second foul 34 seconds later.

Laura Johnson kept the Cougars in the game with 15 first-half points, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. But USF’s leading scorer was held to two shot attempts in the second half and finished with 17 points and six rebounds. Alyssa Rushton also had 17 points for the Cougars.

Ali Wilkinson led four Mavericks in double-digits with a game-high 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Down 25-10 with just over 10 minutes to play, the Cougars rallied to cut it to 27-22 with a 12-2 run that was capped by Johnson’s third three-pointer of the first half.

MSU finished the half on a 14-6 spurt to take a 41-28 lead into the break.

A Maverick team that was out for revenge against a USF squad that knocked them from the unbeaten ranks on Dec. 15 ran away from the Cougars quickly and efficiently in the second period.

On the first possession of the second half, the Cougars left Aubrey Davis alone in the right corner and she made them pay with a three with just five seconds off the clock. There was a critical five-point swing at the 15-minute mark, when the Cougars missed a gimme layup and failed to secure the offensive rebound. Ashley Olson came down with the ball and dished it ahead to Wilkinson, who laid it in and was fouled for a three-point play that put the Mavericks up 54-35.

Olson provided the dagger with consecutive treys that gave Minnesota State its largest lead of the game at 62-39 with 12:39 left in the game. With 10:33 to go, the margin was down to 15, 63-48, after a Teagan Molden layup and a Rushton trey. But the Mavericks matched with a three on the other end that turned the final minutes into a mere formality at the Taylor Center, Arena, where the Mavericks are 12-0 this season.

Aggen filled the box score with seven points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal. Amber Paden chipped in eight points and went 4-for-6 from the floor. 

The Cougars were edged on the glass, 30-28. The USF bench was outscored by the Maverick reserves 21-19. The Mavericks connected on 28-of-58 (48%) of their shots from the floor, 9-of-23 (39%) from long range and went 19-of-23 from the charity stripe.

USF wraps up its regular season slate tomorrow afternoon at No. 24 Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Bears (20-5, 18-3 NSIC) have clinched at least a share of the 2013 NSIC Regular Season Championship with a 73-59 win over Southwest Minnesota State tonight.

Courtesy: USF Athletics