Mavericks blowout Southern Nazarene, 80-48  

With a convincing 80-48 win against Southern Nazarene University Monday night, the Minnesota State women’s basketball team are the new reigning NCAA Central Region Tournament champions. 

The seventh-seeded Mavericks took down the No. 1-seeded Storm in the championship game which took place at Sawyer Center in Bethany, Oklahoma. 

From the opening tip-off the Mavs had a chokehold on the game and never looked back. 

The Mavs got things going with a layup by Emily Russo from a pass by Joey Batt and a pull up jump shot by Destinee Bursch to an early 4-0 lead. With 7:36 left in the first quarter, Southern Nazarene got on the scoreboard thanks to a layup by Emily Monaghan. 

Over the next four minutes, the Mavs went on a 13-0 run to give themselves a 17-2 lead. The majority of the scoring load throughout the run was on the shoulders of Batt as she scored 11 points during that stretch. 

Although SNU ended the Mavs’ run due to a free throw by Monaghan with 3:23 left in the quarter, MSU held them to only two points for the remainder of the first period. The Mavs led 24-5 at the end of one. 

Emily Herzberg opened the scoring in the second quarter with a three-pointer from a dime by Batt. Both teams traded baskets over the next few minutes. At the 5:42 mark of the second quarter, the Mavs’ lead was 33-12. MSU then went on a 13-4 run which included three-pointers by Batt and Taylor Theusch to end the half up 46-16. 

SNU’s Hannah Giddey got the opening score of the second half after she laid it in from a pass by Lauryn Reither. Giddey was fouled on the play by Natalie Bremer and she converted the free-throw. Shortly after, Bremer got the Mavs on the scoreboard in the second half with a floater and got their lead to 48-19. SNU went on to outscore the Mavs 21-16 in the quarter, and the score going into the final period was 62-37. 

The first two scores of the fourth quarter were layups traded by Reither and Bursch. At about the halfway mark of the quarter, Batt hit a three and Bursch shortly followed with a layup to put the score at 71-44 with 4:42 left in the game. The Mavs outscored SNU 9-4 the rest of the quarter to put the final touches on their wire-to-wire bludgeoning of Southern Nazarene. 

The Mavs ended the game shooting 48.3% from the field, 58.8% from three-point range and made 12 of 19 free throws. MSU forced Southern Nazarene to commit 25 turovers. The Mavs capatilzed on them and scored 34 points off those turnovers. 

Batt led the way for the Mavs in scoring with 28 points. Bursch got herself 23 points and the two of them combined for 51 of the team’s 80 points. 

With this victory, the Mavs have now advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008-09.

The Mavs had some tough moments at the beginning of the year, but they showed resilience. 

“We hit some tough patches early in the year and to just see how resilient that made this team, it’s one of those blessings. You just get closer and closer because of the tough stretches,” said head coach Emilee Thiesse in the post game press conference. 

Their togetherness is a huge reason why they have been so successful this season. 

“The confidence that they play with because they know it’s all of us. When we show that grit, that love and that togetherness, we just really believe that we can’t be stopped,” Thiesse said. 

Batt shot six for nine from the three-point line and she felt the confidence her teammates had in her throughout the game. 

“My teammates pour an unbelievable amount of confidence into me, and just knowing I can take those shots. I mean I airballed one and they looked at me and they were like, you take that shot all day every day,” Batt said. 

Header Photo: The Minnesota State women’s basketball team’s 32-point victory in the NCAA Central Region Championship game was their biggest margin of victory in the tournament. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at

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