The Minnesota State Mavericks women’s basketball team have been struggling the past few weeks to come up with and stick to a game plan that works. This past weekend they tried their hardest to keep defending the ball and focusing on the next play instead of the past one, but that wasn’t enough for the team to continue their winning streak.
The Dragons hold a conference record of 11-5, compared to the Mavericks who have a record of 8-8. To start the game, the Dragons opened with an 11-0 run, resulting in the Mavericks to take an early timeout. Minnesota State was able to respond with a 12-0 run fed by a full court press, cutting Moorhead’s lead to 18-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams went back and forth in the second quarter with the Dragons extending their lead by as much as nine points. Junior Tayla Stuttley ended the first half with a 3-pointer at the buzzer, cutting the Dragons lead 32-27 at the half.
Stuttley scored seven points in the first and freshman Joey Batt added five points as well.
The Mavericks forced 13 turnovers in the first half of the game as well.
The third quarter was much like the second, with the Dragons unable to take a huge lead and entered the fourth quarter with a 50-42 lead.
With just three minutes left in the game, senior Kirstin Klitzke scored a 3-pointer to tie the game up and senior Taylor Drost hit a shot to give the Mavericks their first lead of the game the next possession.
Drost was able to put up another shot after a mistake from the Dragons and put the Mavericks in the lead by four points with 1:39 left in the game.
The Dragons responded with a 7-0 run with several free throws, resulting in a 3-point lead with 11 seconds remaining in the game. After a timeout, the Mavericks gave freshman Shea Fuller a shot from beyond the arc, but she just missed the shot, leading to a Dragons 66-63 win.
Batt wrapped up the game with a team-high 12 points and Drost finished with 10. Klitzke was the Mavericks leading rebounder with five boards and nine points.
The Mavericks forced 27 turnovers, leading to 28 points off turnovers, compared to only five for the Dragons.
On Saturday, the Mavericks attempted to follow its game plan, but fell short of the Wolves. Within minutes of the first quarter the Mavericks were able to force a timeout onto the Wolves after jumping to a 6-2 lead. The defense was good during the first quarter and resulted in a Mavericks 18-13 lead.
In the second quarter, both teams put on defensive pressure and at a timeout, the Mavericks lead was cut to 22-20. Before the end of the quarter, the Wolves took the lead with a score of 31-28.
Klitzke ended the first half with nine points to lead the team while Drost scored six points as well.
Minnesota State forced Northern State into 14 turnovers while stealing the ball 10 times in the half.
To begin the second half, the Wolves went on an 8-4 run, leading to an early Mavericks timeout. This didn’t stop the Mavericks though, as they cut the lead to two points and after alternating leads for the remaining minutes of the quarter, the Wolves took a 52-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
MSU continued their defensive pressure into the last quarter and after a set of free throws from Klitzke, they cut Northern State’s lead to two points with four minutes left in the game. Stuttley swished a 3-pointer from the left wing when there was just under a minute left in the game, cutting the Wolves lead to 65-63.
After converted free throws from the Wolves, Drost hit a jumper to cut the lead to two points with 14.6 seconds left in the game. Northern State was able to convert their next two free throws, while the Mavericks used their last timeout to advance the ball down four with 13.4 seconds to go. The Mavericks gave everything in their last 3-pointer, but the Wolves managed to grab the rebound, get fouled and make their free throws, winning the game 71-65.
The Mavericks will host the Minnesota State Crookston Golden Eagles on Friday evening and the Bemidji State Beavers on Saturday afternoon at the Taylor Center.
Header photos: Minnesota State guard Maddy Olson (10) dribbles the basketball against Augustana at the Taylor Center Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Mankato, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)