Wayne State had four players score in double figures, led by sophomore Erin Norling’s career-high 21 points, as the Wildcats topped Northwest Missouri State 75-58 Friday evening in the MIAA/NSIC Crossover held at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. WSC is 1-0 on the season, winning head coach Brent Pollari’s debut, while NMSU drops to 0-1.
The first quarter featured seven lead changes and one tie between the two clubs. A Halley Busse 3-pointer gave WSC the lead for good at 13-12 with 3:54 to go first quarter. Norling had nine of the 17 points for WSC in the first quarter.
The game remained close until WSC closed the first half with a strong run to take a 40-26 lead at intermission.
With WSC leading 28-22 with 4:04 to play in the half, the ‘Cats used back-to-back layups from senior forward Taylor Reiner to take their first double digit lead of the night at 32-22. Haley Vesey drained four free throws and baskets by Andrea Larson and Halley Busse to end the half gave WSC a 14-point lead at intermission.
Wayne State maintained a double figure lead in the second half, pushing the lead to 21 a couple times in the third quarter before ending the quarter with a 61-44 advantage.
The Wildcats used baskets from Vesey to take their biggest leads of the night at 22 points, 68-46 and 70-48 with nearly 7:00 left in the game, and the Wildcats ended with a 75-58 victory.
Norling led Wayne State in scoring with her career-high 21-point effort, going 10 of 20 from the field and 1 for 2 at the charity stripe. Vesey came off the bench to score 14 followed by Busse with 11 and Larson 10.
Wayne State ended the game making 29 of 65 shots for 44.6 percent, going 5 of 16 behind the arc and 12 for 19 (63.2%) at the free throw line.
For Northwest Missouri State, Kendey Eaton scored 17 points with Jaelyn Haggard and Mallory McConkey reaching double figures with 16 and 12.
The Bearcats made 21 of 53 shots for 39.6 percent, including 7 for 18 from the 3-point line. NMSU was 9 of 11 at the free throw line.
Wayne State held a sizeable 44-28 advantage in rebounding thank to eight boards from Vesey and seven by Norling, which led to a 23-7 edge in second chance points.
The ‘Cats had 14 steals, led by Larson and Norling with four thefts apiece. Norling also had a team-high five assists. Taylor Reiner had three blocked shots for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats will be in action again Saturday hosting Nebraska-Kearney at 5:30 p.m. in the final game of the MIAA/NSIC Crossover at Rice Auditorium.