Women’s basketball to begin NCAA journey against Missouri Western

The Minnesota State women’s basketball team begins its NCAA Region Conference journey with a showdown against Missouri Western State University at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Oklahoma Friday. 

The Mavericks head into the tournament after winning the NSIC Tournament, and bringing home the first conference title in the program’s history. 

The Mavs’ path to becoming conference champions included going through Minnesota State University, Moorhead in the quarterfinals, Southwest Minnesota State University in the semifinals and the University of Mary in the championship game. 

The NSIC Championship game was neck-and-neck for a good chunk of the first half. The second quarter was where the Mavs seized control of the game and never looked back. MSU went on an 11-0 run and, with 2:16 left in the half, held a 44-29 lead.

The Mavs went into halftime with a 47-33 lead. The Marauders made an attempt to cut into the Mavs’ lead by going on a 6-0 run early in the third quarter. Emily Herzberg and Ava Stier each made a bucket to quell the Marauders’ run.

The fourth quarter began with MSU up 63-53, and a Herzberg three-pointer kick-started an 11-2 Mavs’ run. The Mavs would go on to defeat the Marauders 89-74. 

MSU had five players score in the double digits. Joey Batt led the way with 16 points, Destinee Bursch had 14 and Herzberg got 13. Natlie Bremer and Mackenzie Schweim each scored 10 points. 

Head coach Emilee Thiesse said she believes the team winning this tournament came as a result of the chemistry that they have. 

“We’re so locked into each other, that it’s like all of these things have just become a byproduct of just our chemistry and staying locked in with each other. It’s not like we’ve been chasing those things, but it’s been great to see how those great successes have come as a result of our team’s chemistry and love for each other,” Thiesse said. 

Selflessness is a quality that has helped them achieve the triumphs that they have enjoyed this season. 

“They celebrate each other’s successes more than they ever are out for theirs.​​ This is a system built on that. We play a lot of players, we have great depth, but we have so many different players that bring so many different strengths,” Thiesse said.  

Blocking out the outside noise was a point of emphasis for the Mavs before they began their conference tournament run, and that is the same mindset they will be heading into the regional tournament with. 

“I thought our team was probably as locked in as I’ve ever seen them in the conference tournament,” she said. “Probably one of our first comments coming back after the weekend was, you know, a lot of talk and discussion about regional rankings and where we were going to be and why we were here versus there and what does that mean.

“We nip that right away with just, none of that means anything, it’s just outside noise and if we want to go where we believe we can go, you’re going to have to beat three teams anyway, it doesn’t matter what order they’re in,” Thiesse said. 

The seventh-seed Mavs aren’t looking past their opponents who are the No. 2 seed. 

“Our mindset heading into the tournament is really no different than we’ve had the rest of the season. We are looking at it game by game so we don’t get too ahead of ourselves. The team knows the impact that we could make in this tournament and seeing how good we are gives us the utmost confidence,” Bremer said. 

Playing at a fast pace will be something the Mavs use to their advantage. 

“Missouri Western hasn’t necessarily seen a press like ours or played at the type of pace that we like to play at. Controlling those two things will play a big part.” Bremer said. 

Thiesse said she believes the two teams’ similar playing styles will produce a great matchup. 

“If we can control that tempo. Make sure they’re not playing comfortably fast and getting us on our heels, and instead playing uncomfortably fast to where they may be making some mistakes, rushing into shots and those kinds of things that’ll play into our hands,” Thiesse said. 

Header Photo: The Minnesota State women’s basketball team looks to add to its historic season. They have already won the first conference title in school history. Now they will try to make a run in the NCAA Central Region Tournament. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at

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