WSC women win ninth straight, men edged by Upper Iowa

Wayne State’s women continued their winning ways while the men came up short on the road Friday at Upper Iowa.

In the women’s contest, Wayne State outscored Upper Iowa 22-3 in the second quarter as the Wildcats cruised to their ninth straight win in a 69-38 blowout Friday in Fayette, Iowa.

With the score tied at 5-5 just under four minutes into the contest, WSC (23-6, 17-4 NSIC) scored the next nine points on a jumper and 3-pointer from Kacie O’Connor and baskets from Amanda Brainerd and Maggie Lowe for a 14-5 lead. The host Peacocks were able to get within 15-9 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wildcats scored the first 12 points of the second quarter to take control of the game with a 27-9 lead and outscored the Peacocks 22-3 in the second quarter for a 37-12 lead at intermission.

WSC made 9 of 17 shots in the third quarter and held a 21-11 scoring advantage to finish the third quarter with a 58-23 lead. Reserves dominated play in the fourth quarter for the Wildcats cruised to the blowout win.

Senior center Paige Ballinger led a balanced Wildcat attack with 11 points followed by O’Connor and junior reserve forward Andrea Larson with 10 apiece.

WSC won the rebounding battle over UIU 50-26 thanks to 10 rebounds from Ballinger, giving her a third double-double this season. Maggie Schulte added six boards. Maggie Lowe had three of Wayne State’s 11 assists and was credited with three of the team’s seven steals. Ballinger was credited with seven blocked shots in the game, the third-most blocked shots in a single game by a Wildcat women’s basketball player.

In the men’s game, Upper Iowa built a 12-point halftime lead, then held back a Wayne State charge in the second half to hold back the Wildcats 73-68.

The two teams traded seven lead changes with two ties in the first half. WSC opened the game with a 7-2 lead followed by eight straight points from the Peacocks for a 10-7 advantage. WSC (14-15, 9-12 NSIC) held their final lead of the night at 16-15 following a Trevin Joseph layup at the 9:27 mark. A Vance Janssen jumper was the second and final tie of the first half at 18-18.

With Upper Iowa leading 21-20 at the 5:30 mark of the first half, the Peacocks closed the half on a 18-7 run to build a 39-27 lead at intermission.

Wayne State turned the tables on the host team with a similar run to open the second half with the Wildcats opening the half on a 15-3 run, forging a 42-42 tie on a Joseph 3-pointer with 13:50 left in the game.

After UIU pushed the lead back to seven at 51-44, WSC battled back and knotted the score at 55-55 with 8:14 to play.

But again, the Peacocks came back and scored seven straight to push the lead back to 62-55 near the five minute mark.

The Wildcats got as close as one following a pair of Kendall Jacks free throws at 64-63 with 2:08 remaining, but the Peacocks scored on their next two possessions to increase the lead to six at 69-63 and Upper Iowa finished off the five-point win.

Jacks led Wayne State with 20 points to go with a career-high 15 rebounds for his first-ever double-double. Joseph also finished in double figures with 19.

The Wildcats close out the regular season Saturday evening at Winona State. Game times are at 4 and 6 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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