WAYNE, Neb. — The University of Minnesota-Crookston women’s basketball team fended off a late attack from Wayne State College (Neb.) to earn an important 74-72 road win. The Wildcats caused six turnovers in the last five minutes, using a full-court press to pressure the Golden Eagles, who held a 12-point lead for more than eight minutes into the game. Minnesota Crookston made key shots and played down the stretch to earn Saturday’s win.
Minnesota Crookston advanced to 9-11 (8-6 NSIC) with the win over Wayne State. The Wildcats fell to 10-8 (6-8 NSIC) with the loss. Minnesota Crookston clinched its second straight win over Wayne State. The win is UMN Crookston’s first at Rice Auditorium since a 67-58 win on Dec. 12, 2014. Minnesota Crookston sits fourth in the NSIC North.
The Golden Eagles were led by a double-double by Bren Fox (RSr., F/C, Norwood Young America, Minn.) with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Fox has seven double-doubles this season. Emma Miller (Fr., G, Albertville, Minn.) had 22 points and five assists. Erika Lane (Sun., G, Breezy Point, Minn.) added 15 points. Alex Page (Sun, F, Grand Forks, ND) scored eight points. Nicole Hernandez (Jr., F/C, Oak Creek, Wis.) came off the bench for seven points and seven boards. The Golden Eagles shot 22 of 50 for 44.0 percent from the field. UMN Crookston went 9 of 20 from beyond the arc for 45.0 percent. Minnesota Crookston made it count at the free throw line, especially down the stretch when they went 21 of 26 for 80.8 percent. Minnesota Crookston passed Wayne State 41-34 on the night.
The Wildcats looked to 20 points off the bench by Lauren Zacharias. Kassidy Pingel chipped in 15 points. Maya Fitzpatrick finished with 12 points. Wayne State shot 28 of 74 from the field for 37.8 percent. They were 9 of 28 for 32.1 percent behind the three-point line. The Wildcats were 7-of-9 for 77.8 percent from the line.
The Wildcats went 7-53 in the first verse after a treble from Ashley Gustavson to an 8-2 lead. Minnesota Crookston was able to keep the deficit at six points (13:7) after a free throw from Hernandez. That would be the record for the quarter break. Neither team scored a field goal for four minutes.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 16-7 after a Pingel Trey. Minnesota Crookston responded with a 7-0 run as an Erika Lane triple brought the Golden Eagles to two (16:14). The Golden Eagles went on a 10-0 run when Hernandez hit a three-pointer on the wing to give UMN Crookston a 17-16 lead. Wayne State stopped the run with a floater from Abby Kopecky, leaving 5:50 on the second stanza. The Wildcats extended their lead to 20-17 with a steal from Zacharias and a fast break basket. Minnesota Crookston tied the game again at 20-20 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Fox at 5-17 in the quarter. Wayne State took the advantage back 22-20, but Fox came right back with another old-fashioned three-point play to give Minnesota Crookston a 23-22 lead. The two teams went back and forth for the next few minutes, with the Golden Eagles holding a 30-28 advantage on a Miller floater as time ran out on the second stanza.
Minnesota Crookston opened the third quarter with a 4-0 run as Miller Floater gave the Golden Eagles the 34-28 advantage. Wayne State responded with a 5-0 run of their own as a treble from Logan Hughes took the Wildcats to 3433. The Golden Eagles countered with a 10-0 run powered by five points from Miller. Brigid Boyle stopped the run as she cut Wayne State’s deficit to 44-35. Wayne State went on a 6-0 run as the Wildcats drew within 44-39 with less than three minutes remaining in the third frame. The Golden Eagles halted the run with two Fox free throws as they extended their lead to 46-39 with 1:57 in the third quarter. Minnesota Crookston hit an 8-0 run with triples from Miller and Abigail Leach (R-Jr., G/F, Wyoming, Minnesota) as the Golden Eagles took a 52-39 lead. Pingel ended the third quarter with two triples for the Wildcats as they drew within 5245 at the quarter break.
The Golden Eagles opened the final quarter with five straight points from Miller as they extended their lead to 57-45 and stayed 8:04 in the game. The Wildcats capitalized on a 4-0 run to close in 57-49 with more than six minutes remaining in the tilt. The Golden Eagles responded with a crucial old-fashioned three-point play from Hernandez to make it 60-49 with 5:40 to go on the clock. Wayne State used defensive pressure to run late and cause chaos. The Wildcats used free throws to move within a point (6665) at 2:17 in the contest. Wayne State took the 68-66 lead after a three-pointer from Zacharias with just under two minutes to go. Page tied the game with two free throws for a 68-68 with 1:45 on Saturday’s tilt. Wayne State took the lead 70-68, but Page responded with a trey to give the Golden Eagles a 71-70 lead. The Wildcats stole on the defensive end, but Page took a key attack down the lane when Wayne State turned the ball over. Wayne State then fouled Page, who hit a pair at the stripe to give the Golden Eagles a 73-70 lead with 25 seconds left. Zacharias missed a three for the Wildcats and Fox got the rebound. Wayne State fouled Fox, who made it a two-possession game, by hitting 1-of-2 from the line to give the Golden Eagles a 74-70 lead. Pingel hit a jumper late, but it wouldn’t be enough as Minnesota Crookston beat the Wildcats 74-72.
Minnesota Crookston returns home to take on the University of Sioux Falls on Friday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Gary Senske Court at Lysaker High School in Crookston.