Wildcat women win again, men lose heartbreaker to Minot State
Wayne State rode the hot hand of Andrea Larson to a 72-52 win over Minot State in women’s basketball action Saturday at Rice Auditorium, while two late free throws helped the visitors spoil a Wayne State upset with a 69-68 win in men’s action.
In the women’s game, Larson scored a career-high 25 points on 10-of-10 shooting from the field to lead the Wildcats to their sixth straight win and 10th of the season, improving to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in NSIC play.
Wayne State trailed early in the contest, but took the lead for good at the end of the opening period on a 3-pointer by Larson to make it 14-11.
That momentum carried over into the second period, where the Wildcats started with a 10-0 run to take a 24-11 advantage. Minot State cut the deficit to five late in the period, but the Wildcats closed the half with a 9-2 run to make it 35-23 and the visiting Dragons never got closer than six points after that.
Larson surpassed her former career high of 16 points set earlier this season against Jamestown College and was the only Wildcat in double figures as Wayne State utilized a balanced scoring effort.
Paige Ballinger led the defense with eight rebounds and four blocks, while Maggie Schulte had five assists and three steals.
The Wildcat women are back in action Tuesday, Dec. 19, with a 6 p.m. matchup at Augustana in Sioux Falls, S.D.
In the men’s matchup, Minot State’s Tyler Rudolph drained two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to help the 10-1 Dragons escape with the win, dropping Wayne State to 7-4 overall and 3-2 in NSIC play.
The Beavers scored the first 13 points of the game to force the Wildcats to play catchup most of hte night. Tony Bonner got Wayne State on the board at the 13:50 mark with a basket, and Minot State would lead 22-8 before the Wildcats got their first run of the game going, capping a 12-0 rally with a Trevin Joseph 3-pointer to make it 22-20 with eight minutes to go in the first half.
Minot State built the lead back to seven points at halftime and led by 11 early in the second half, but Wayne State would battle back and actually take a 44-43 lead on an Austin Esters layup with 11:13 to go in the game.
Minot State quickly regained the lead and led 67-62 with 1:10 to go, but layups by Joseph, Kendall Jacks and Jordan Cornelius gave Wayne State a 68-67 lead with :10 left.
Rudolph was fouled in the lane with 1.8 second to go and hit both free throws, allowing the Dragons to come away with the one-point win.
Joseph scored 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting to lead the Wildcats in scoring while Cornelius also hit double digits with 12. Jacks led the team with seven rebounds.
Wayne State hosts Mount Marty College in non-conference action Monday at 7 p.m. at Rice Auditorium.