One month ago, the Minnesota State Women’s Basketball team was trailing in the conference and needed to win out to secure their place at the top of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The team had the confidence they needed a month ago and worked off it to find themselves in winning positions every game since.
“As long as we keep playing how we did tonight, the south division is ours,” said Guard Destinee Bursch after beating Minot State on Jan. 28.
Saturday’s game brought them the last win they needed, finishing the season on a nine-game win streak. The No.13 Mavericks are now conference champions in the south division and earned themselves a first-round bye in the NSIC tournament as they finished with a record of 23-3.
Both Thursday and Saturday’s games ended in blowouts which has become a growing pattern for the Mavs. Over the nine-game win streak span, the last eight resulted in the Mavs besting their opponents by double-digit figures.
The Mavs hosted their last home game of the season Thursday against Winona State, winning 65-42. Their 23 point win margin was the largest win margin they had over their win streak. Also, the 42 points they allowed was tied for the fewest points that their defense allowed all year.
Mankato started off slow, they were neck and neck throughout the first half as neither team gained more than a five point lead in the first quarter. The Warriors ended the half on top with a one-point lead of 26-25.
The Mavericks heated up in the second half and took over. They outscored Winona State 23-12 in the third quarter and found their momentum late as they finished off the game on a 13-0 run. This gave the Warriors their 11th road loss of the season.
Freshman Guard Natalie Bremer was just previously named the NSIC South Player of the Week, one week prior. Against Winona State, she kept her hot streak rolling as she led the team with 19 points on 56% shooting.
Saturday brought more of the same versus the Upper Iowa Peacocks. It was a back and forth battle throughout the first two quarters. The half concluded with a score of 44-41, Mavericks on top.
In the third quarter, the Mavericks outscored the Peacocks 19-12 and gained a double digit lead. This double digit lead was kept up throughout the entirety of the last quarter. The Mavericks finished strong, 99-82, making it their highest scoring game against a NSIC team this year.
Bremer again, brought the team to victory. She led the team with 21 points and made 69% of her shots. She also had three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
“We are super excited to have a loaded weapon like Natalie,” said coach Emilee Thiesse. “It is special what she’s doing as a freshman with her unique style of play. She has certainly been catching the eye of probably a lot of people within the conference, but you know, I don’t think it’s a big surprise to any of her teammates. We have seen that from day one.”
There were three other players who had double digit points in the win. Joey Batt found herself with 19 points, Emily Herzberg had 13 and Molly Ihle had 11.
The Mavs now get to rest up while eight other teams battle it out in the first round of the playoffs Tuesday and Wednesday. Mankato will travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to begin the tournament in the second round. They will face the winner of the Wayne State versus UMary game.
Write to Luke Jackson at Luke.Jackson.firstname.lastname@example.org
Header Photo: The MSU Women’s Basketball team continues the streak with a 99-82 win over Upper Iowa Saturday, Feb. 18. (Dylan Engel)