Women’s hoops nears 20th win before end of season

The Minnesota State women’s basketball team is returning home this weekend to face off against Wayne State and Augustana after their weekend road trip. The Mavericks went 1-1 this past weekend, beating Sioux Falls but falling in a tough matchup to Southwest Minnesota State. 

The team returns home with a 16-5 overall record while having a conference record of 12-5. The Mavs are one of the best teams when it comes to home court advantage, where they have won eight of nine possible games in front of their home crowd at the Taylor Center. 

MSU returns home to face off against Wayne State and Augustana, who both sit at No. 12 and No. 6 in the NSIC respectively. The Mavericks clash with the Wildcats first, who come into the matchup with a 6-10 record in conference play and 9-11 overall record. 

The two teams faced off earlier this season on Dec. 11, where the Mavs returned home with a 63-52 win. 

Sophomore guard Taylor Theusch led the Mavs in points with 16, and was followed close behind by senior guard Maddy Olson with 14. Sophomore forward Emily Russo also surpassed the double-digit mark, collecting 10 points and seven rebounds. 

WSC’s Kylie Hammer was the leading scorer for the Wildcats as she scored 25 points on 10-15 shooting. Hammer was the only Wildcat to surpass the double-digit point mark in the contest and will look to receive a bit more help when facing the Mavericks for the second time this season.

The Mavs then move on to Augustana on Saturday who MSU has also played earlier in the season. Minnesota State got the best of the Vikings in the first matchup, beating them 91-86 on Augustana’s home court. 

The Mavs spread out the scoring nicely in the game, with sophomore Joey Batt leading the charge with 22 points. Three other Mavericks also surpassed the double-digit mark, all scoring 14 points in the win. 

Augustana had three double-digit scorers of their own, with Aislinn Duffy leading the way with 28 points. Duffy also collected an outstanding 21 rebounds with teammate Jennifer Aadland following close behind her with 19 points and 16 rebounds of her own.

The Vikings come in as a tougher matchup for the Mavericks on paper, holding a 12-7 overall record and 8-7 record inside the NSIC. 

The Mavs are the favorites, however, and should continue to lean on their sophomore guard Batt to drop the ball in the basket. Batt leads the team in scoring while averaging 15.7 points per game while also shooting above 80 percent from the free throw line.

Not far behind her are teammates freshman Destinee Bursch and senior Maddie Olson. The two average 12.1 and 10 points per game respectively and are two viable scoring options for the Mavericks game in and game out. 

With the NSIC playoffs approaching, Minnesota State will look to maintain their first-round bye position with two wins this weekend. With four games remaining, the team could reach a 20-win season with four straight wins heading into the NSIC tournament for the first time since 2014. 

Header photo: The Maverick women’s basketball team nears their first 20-win regular season since 2014. With four straight wins the Mavs will surpass 20 wins and claim a first round bye in the NSIC tournament. (Mansoor Ahmad/The Reporter)

Write to Kole Buelow at kole.buelow@mnsu.edu.

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