St. Cloud State opened the second half with a 12-0 run in less than 2:30 as the host Huskies defeated Wayne State College 75-62 Wednesday evening in the opening round of the NSIC Sanford Health Women’s Basketball Tournament at Halenbeck Hall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. SCSU improves to 20-7 on the season while Wayne State ends the year at 16-13.
The Wildcats and Huskies opened the contest with a high-scoring tempo that featured six lead changes. But the hot-shooting Huskies connected on 6-11 from the 3-point line and closed the first quarter strong with a 26-18 lead.
WSC was down 14-10, but used a 3-pointer from Erin Norling, an Awoti Akoi layup and 3-pointer from Haley Vesey to take an 18-17 lead.
But SCSU closed the first quarter with a trio of 3-pointers to take a 26-18 lead.
The Huskies built the lead to 11 in the second quarter at 34-23, but WSC closed the quarter with a Kylie Hammer layup and eight straight points from Norling to cut the St. Cloud State advantage to 36-33 at intermission.
St. Cloud State opened the third quarter with a 12-0 scoring surge in the first 2:37 to take their biggest lead of the night at 48-33.
WSC still trailed by 14 points (54-40) with 3:15 to play in the quarter, but trimmed the Huskies lead to eight at 57-49 at the end of the third quarter.
The ‘Cats got as close as six on the first possession of the fourth quarter when Akoi converted a layup and again at 60-54 on a Norling 3-pointer with 7:23 to play.
St. Cloud State scored on their next two possessions to go in front by 10 again (64-54) and maintained a double digit lead the rest of the game for a 75-62 win.
Norling led Wayne State College in scoring with 18 points followed by Autumn Mlinar with 11.
WSC made 23 of 60 shots from the field for 38.3 percent, going 8 for 24 behind the arc. The ‘Cats were a perfect 8 for 8 at the charity stripe.
Madelin Dammann poured in a game-high 20 points, 14 in the first quarter, to lead St. Cloud State in scoring. Brehna Evans added 18 points while Tori Wortz (15) and Nikki Kilboten (13) also reached double digits.
St. Cloud State was 28 of 59 from the floor (47.5%) including 10 of 26 from the 3-point line. The Huskies were 9 of 11 at the foul line.
Wayne State held a 42-27 advantage in rebounding that included 16 offensive rebounds. Norling grabbed eight boards for the ‘Cats while Mlinar added six caroms.
Halley Busse, Hammer and Josey Ryan each had four assists while Busse was credited with four steals.
Wayne State had 22 turnovers in the game to just 11 for the Huskies, giving SCSU a 21-9 edge in points off turnovers.