The Minnesota State Mavericks women’s basketball team was able to take advantage of playing on their home court, with wins against the Wayne State Wildcats and Augustana Vikings, bringing a wave of cheers from fans.
The Mavericks opened the weekend of games on Friday, Jan. 24, when they took on Wayne State and Minnesota State made sure to start off on a strong foot. In the first quarter, the Mavericks defense was putting on full court pressure to ensure they didn’t get an opportunity at the basket. Senior Taylor Drost helped the team offensively with a six-point quarter, making the score 19-11 heading into the second quarter.
To begin the second quarter, the Wildcats were able to cut the Mavericks lead to six, but that didn’t slow them down. MSU responded with a 13-2 run with junior Tayla Stuttley scoring five of the 13 points.
The Mavericks continued their offense with ended the first half with a lead of 47-27.
By halftime, Minnesota State had three players in double digits, freshman Joey Batt, Stuttley, and sophomore Kristi Fett all with 10 points.
The Wildcats started the third quarter on an 8-0 run, cutting the Mavericks lead to 12 and with this, the Mavericks responded with a 63-48 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Mavericks continued their momentum into the fourth quarter going on a 4-0 run to continue their lead to 19. After some fighting back, the Wildcats cut the Maverick lead to nine, but this was as close as the Wildcats would get for the remainder of the game.
Fett ended the game with a double-double, as she scored 15 points and brought in 12 rebounds, while sophomore Maddy Olson added 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Batt had 12 points off the bench and junior Rachel Shumski scored 10 points and had five rebounds.
As a team, the Mavericks tallied 14 steals and forced 21 Wildcat turnovers.
Head coach Emilee Thiesse explained that the team went into Friday night’s game with a main focus on defending the ball and not worrying about what happened on the possession before, but instead focusing on the play that’s about to happen. She also said the girls allowed Wayne State too many free throws and that resulted in free points, which is one thing the team struggled with, but came back with a stronger and more determined defense for not only this game, but Saturday’s game as well.
The Mavericks took their attitude from Friday’s game into Saturday for their game against the Vikings and once again started the game strongly.
MSU began the first quarter with a 7-0 run after senior Kirstin Klitzke opened the game with a layup. Augustana answered back by going on a 10-0 run and built a 10-7 lead with 5:16 left in the first quarter. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter, as the Vikings took the lead going into the second quarter 22-18.
The defense for both the Mavericks and the Vikings tightened up in the second quarter, and because of this, MSU was able to hold Augustana to only eight points after giving up 22 points in the first quarter. On offense, the Mavericks were consistent and put up 15 points as they carried a 33-30 lead into the halftime.
Mankato went 4-for-18 in the first half for 3-point shooting, while Augustana went 3-of-11, shooting 27.3% from downtown. Both teams shot 34.3% from the field by halftime, but it was the Mavericks ability to bring out four fouls and go to the line nine times.
Klitzke led the Mavericks with seven points by halftime, shooting 3-for-5 from the field and 1-of-2 from distance, while Stuttley had six points and junior Brooke Tonsfeldt scored five.
The Mavericks were able to stay in control going into the third quarter and entered the fourth with a score of 46-43. The fourth quarter was a tight-knit game, with both teams trading baskets. Augustana took their first lead of the half with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Stuttley helped the Mavericks gain a 59-58 lead after a pair of free throws with 1:44 remaining. An Augustana steal eventually led to the Vikings going up 60-59 with 1:14 remaining in the game.
MSU received the ball out of the timeout trailing 60-59 with 20 seconds left in the game. A layup form Batt would then give the Mavericks the 61-60 lead to win the game.
Klitzke ended the game with 12 points and was the team’s leading scorer and shot 4-for-8 from the field, while Batt finished with 11 points and two rebounds and was essential to the team’s win. Shumski ended with nine points and a team-high of 10 rebounds.
The Mavericks will be back on the road this weekend to play MSU Moorhead and Northern State Friday and Saturday.
Header photo: Minnesota State guard Joey Batt (1) drives to the basket against Augustana at the Taylor Center Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Mankato, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)