MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team were unable to claw their way back for a win in their 62-60 home loss to Concordia-St. Paul Friday night. The Mustangs had an opportunity to tie the game on the final possession but were unable to convert.
In the fourth quarter, the Mustangs trailed by as many as 8 points. Yet, they never gave up and fought their way back into the game. Following a CSP shot clock violation and a pair of free throws by Sam Wall, the game was all tied up in the final two minutes.
The Golden Bears took a 62-60 lead with 22 seconds remaining in the game. The Mustangs missed their shot, but an offensive foul by CSP gave SMSU the ball right back. Moments later, the Mustangs committed another offensive foul on the inbound to return the ball to the Golden Bears. Still, Jenna Borchers was able to force a jump ball to give SMSU one last opportunity with four seconds remaining.
The Mustangs had options on the final play, having the ability to go for 2 points and overtime or 3 for the win. Yet, they were unable to attempt either, as they failed to get a shot off before the buzzer.
“It just didn’t work out,” SMSU head coach Tom Webb said. “That happens. With a young team, we’re learning where to go, who to go to, matchups were kind of a bit unique tonight. We drew something up and it just didn’t work.”
SMSU had no answer for the CSP defense after the first quarter. The Mustangs started the game on a 12-2 run but finished the quarter leading 19-18. They didn’t score more than 15 points in any of the next three quarters.
“The pace slowed down hard,” Webb said, citing the cause of the Mustangs’ scoring woes. “When the pace slowed down, we kind of just slowed down with it. We want to play fast. When the tempo got going in the second half again, look what happened. We started pressing a little bit. What I mean by that is individually pressing to try to make something happen and that gets you in trouble too.”
A late first-quarter scoring run from the Golden Bears gave them all momentum. After a 3-pointer from Borchers to open the quarter for SMSU, CSP went on an 8-0 run to take a 26-22 lead. SMSU never led by more than 1 point for the rest of the game.
Perimeter defense was a struggle for the Mustangs. While they didn’t allow a made 3-point shot all game, CSP players would continually blow by the Mustangs and get an open look in the paint. The Golden Bears finished the game with 46 points in the paint, 30 more than SMSU.
“We’ve got to be more aggressive on the ball, which is interesting. I think we were too passive on the ball and it put us in no man’s land, and then we got bounced a little bit,” Webb said. “When we got more aggressive late in the second half, we were a lot better. That’s something we really need to look at.”
Only Borchers finished in double figures for SMSU, scoring 21 points on 6-9 shooting. Three other Mustangs finished with 9 points, but none of them shot 40% or higher from the field.
Bri Stoltzman paced the Mustangs in steals, with four, while also finishing second on the team in rebounds with five. Only Madison Gehloff and Hannah Parsley, who pulled down six each, had more.
SMSU (7-4, 4-2 NSIC) will get right back to work when they try to hand Minnesota State its first loss of the season on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. With the exception of a 9-point win over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the Mavericks have won each of their first 10 games by 25 or more points
“The positives are you don’t really have to get them ready. They’re going to be ready,” Webb said of preparing his team for the game. “It’s going to be a fast game, [Minnesota State] wants to play fast too, they’re going to press the whole time, and you just have to be confident.”
Concordia-St. Paul 62, SMSU 60
CSP 18 14 16 14
SMSU 19 12 15 14
SCORING (FG-FGA-PTS): SMSU (Borchers 6-9-21; Stoltzman 3-8-9; Sam Wall 1-5-9; Peyton Blandin 3-9-9)
PASSING (AST-TO): SMSU (Borchers 2-1; Stoltzman 2-1; Wall 2-4; Parsley 2-6)
REBOUNDING (ORB-TRB): SMSU (Parsley 2-6; Gehloff 2-6; Stoltzman 1-5; Borchers 1-5)
DEFENSIVE (STL-BLK): SMSU (Stoltzman 4-0; Blandin 1-1)