Sioux Falls, SD
With a career-high 29 points by Kaely Hummel, the University of Sioux Falls Women's Basketball Team (11-5, 8-4 NSIC) rolled to a second straight NSIC victory with a 74-57 decision over Minnesota Crookston (3-12, 3-8 NSIC) on Saturday afternoon on Ron Eiesland Court at the Stewart Center.
Hummel hit 12-of-25 shots, including 4-of-8 from three point range. She also had eight rebounds, three assists and a steal in 36 minutes of action. Hummel, a sophomore from Cherokee, Iowa, recorded her 26th career double digit scoring game and 15th this season. Plus, she reached 20 points or more for the seventh time, including six times in 2017-18.
"We had a standout performance up and down the lineup," said USF head women's basketball coach Travis Traphagen, who now has 189 career wins at USF. "Kaely (Hummel) had a great performance. But I was pleased to see the defense step up for the second straight game."
While the offense had a solid game, the USF defense was holding Minnesota Crookston in check. USF opened up a 17-11 lead after the first quarter and with a 25-11 margin in the second quarter, led 42-22 at the break. UMC rallied in the third quarter, holding a 22-18 edge to trim cut the lead to 60-44 after three quarters. With a 14-13 advantage in the final quarter, USF took home a 17-point win as USF now leads the series 5-2.
For the fourth straight game, USF, fourth in the NSIC in scoring defense, held an opponent to 60 points or fewer. USF limited UMF to 32.8 percent shooting, including 19-of-58 from the floor. The defense for USF was especially tough on the perimeter with UMC hitting just 2-of-13 from three point range.
Also for USF, sophomore guard Mariah Szymanski had 12 points, four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes of work. Junior forward Jacey Huinker had a game-high 13 rebounds, adding seven points and six assists. Overall, USF was 30-of-66 from the floor for 45.5 percent, including 11-of-25 from three point range. It was the fourth time this year that the Cougars had 10 or more threes in a game.
The victory gave USF an 8-4 record for fourth in the NSIC South.
With its second best offensive first half offensive performance of the season, USF took a 42-22 lead at halftime. Much of that success was through the play of Hummel, who had a career-best 19 first half points. She was 8-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three point range. Szymanski was also on fire, hitting 3-of-5 shots from three-point range and finishing with nine points. Overall, USF hit 17-of-36 shots for 47.2 percent. They were 7-of-16 from three-point range and owned a 22-15 rebound advantage. In addition, USF had 13 assists on 17 baskets.
Defensively, the Cougars held UMC to 30.8 percent shooting (8-of-26) and just 2-of-9 from distance. USF also forced UMC into eight turnovers while committing just three.
Baskets from Huinker, lay-up and jumper from Hummel helped USF take a 6-0 lead at the at the six minute mark of the first quarter. The Golden Eagles answered with five straight to pull within one at 6-5 (5:15, 1st Q). Hummel added another jumper and Lauren Sanders hit a three for an 11-5 lead with four minutes to play first quarter. At the break, USF led, 17-11.
USF quickly opened up a 14-point lead at 25-11 (8:10) after a pair of threes from Szymanski and a jumper by Hummel. The quick burst forced a timeout by the Golden Eagles. With a pair of threes from Hummel (14 points) and Szymanski's third trey of the half, the Cougars continued to put the ball in the basket and pushed the advantage to 39-18 with 3:16 on the clock. The Cougars led by as many as 22 points (1:46, 2nd Quarter) but a late basket from UMC pulled them within 42-22 at the break.
Hummel opened the second half as she ended the first on fire. With a drive and score plus a free throw, she helped USF to a 45-22 lead at the 9:50 mark. UMC had an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to 15 at 48-33 before Andie Mataloni's three helped USF hold an 18-point lead with 5:40 left in the third quarter. UMC converted a three-point play with 18 seconds left in the third quarter to draw within 60-44.
With 7:27 to play in the fourth quarter, Hummel's jumper helped USF to a 62-46 lead. Four straight points by UMC cut the lead to 62-50. But the Cougars had the answer with Szymanski knocking in a three at the 5:19 mark to help USF push the lead back to 65-50. With the clock winding down at the 2:51 mark, Hummel knocked in a three and the Cougars built the 19 with 30 seconds to go when Amanda Dagostino converted a lay-up.
Next for the Cougars will be a pair of road games at Minnesota State on Jan. 19 and at Concordia St. Paul on Jan. 20.
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