MARSHALL - It was just 61 seconds into the second half when Southwest Minnesota State head coach Allison Kruger took a timeout.
The Mustang women's basketball team gave up an open layup 23 seconds in, then a wide-open corner 3-pointer 32 seconds later. A three-point halftime deficit for SMSU had turned into a eight-point Concordia-St. Paul lead. Kruger wanted to try to prevent her team from crumbling in the second half for the second straight night, but the timeout only briefly delayed what was to come.
The Golden Bears exploited a porous SMSU defense to outscore the Mustangs 39-20 in the second half and ran away with an 81-59 victory Saturday night at the R/A Facility.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Southwest Minnesota State freshman guard Megan DeRuyter (20)?gets her shot blocked by Concordia-St. Paul’s Jasmine Haynes during the second half of Saturday’s game in Marshall.
It was a similar script to what happend to SMSU the previous night against Minnesota State-Mankato, where the Mavericks turned a single-digit halftime lead into a 30-point win by outscoring the Mustangs 50-27 in the second half.
Following Saturday's game, Kruger said the Mustangs need to work to change the script during their holiday break because the one they've been using results in a loss every time.
"This weekend we played good first halves and then we don't show up in the second halves," Kruger said. "You can't win a game in 20 minutes, but we've proven we can lose a game in 20 minutes, that's for sure.
Concordia-St. Paul (81)
Jassmine Haynes 1-6 0-0 3, Rachel Hansen 5-9 1-2 11, Carissa Wolyniec 3-8 2-2 11, Kionda Nicks 3-5 0-1 6, Anika Whiting 12-20 5-8 29, Kayla Hulsebus 1-1 0-0 3, Mandy Poke 4-6 1-4 9, Amanda Barton 4-7 0-0 9. Totals 33-62 9-17 81. 3-pointers 6-13 (Wolyniec 3-6, Haynes 1-2, Hulsebus 1-1, Barton 1-1) Rebounds 36 (Wolyniec 7, Whiting 6, Barton 6) Assists 20 (Poke 5) Steals 10 (Nicks 3) Blocks 5 (Nicks 3) Turnovers 10 Total Fouls 16.
Mikayla Saathoff 0-2 0-0 0, Bree Holleman 5-11 1-6 14, Rebekah Rolling 3-7 0-0 6, Hannah Beeler 4-7 1-2 10, Alison Nagel 3-9 0-0 7, Megan DeRuyter 1-3 2-2 5, Jessie Watts 0-3 0-0 0, Ellen Degler 4-6 2-4 10, Hope Bonlander 0-1 0-0 0, Annessa Rosch 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 23-55 6-14 59. 3-pointers 7-16 (Holleman 3-6, Nagel 1-1, Beeler 1-2, DeRuyter 1-2) Rebounds 30 (Nagel 7, Saathoff 5) Assists 12 (Nagel 4) Steals 8 (Beeler 2) Blocks 2 Turnovers 17 Total Fouls 19.
Halftime Score: Concordia-St. Paul 42, SMSU 39.
"We need consistency, and I've been saying that the whole time. We've got kids who have to go home and come back with a different mentality after break."
The loss dropped SMSU to 0-5 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and 1-9 overall. They have yet to defeat a Division II opponent this season. Concordia-St. Paul improved to 3-2 in the conference and 5-4 overall following the victory.
Concordia-St. Paul's 6-foot-2 forward Anika Whiting finished with a game-high 29 points, connecting on 12 of 20 shots. Many of those baskets came on quick finishes off entry passes into the post, which the Mustangs struggled to defend all game.
"She's a good player, but defensively we blew a lot of assignments," Kruger said. "We were in a couple of different defenses and not everyone was on the same page. One kid is playing one defense and another kid is in a different style of defense. You have to be in sync when you're trying to stop a kid like that.
"A lot of people look at the post players and say, 'Why aren't they defending her better?' But we needed better ball pressure to limit easy passes into her. It's a team thing and we all just have to be on the same page, and we weren't tonight in the second half."
The Mustangs got off to a brilliant start to the game, getting a pair of 3-pointers by Bree Holleman and one by Hannah Beeler as they jumped out to an 18-7 lead less than six minutes in. Concordia chipped away and took the lead with 6 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the half when Amanda Barton drilled a 3-pointer to put her squad up 27-24. The Golden Bears never trailed after that.
SMSU shot 59.3 percent from the field in the first half and went 6-for-9 from 3-point range. In the second half the Mustangs made just 25 percent of their shots and missed 14 of their first 15 attempts from the field.
"We didn't do anything different, but we got a little bit tired, we stopped cutting as hard, stopped screening as well, stopped attacking," Kruger said. "In the first half we did a really good job of moving the ball and getting easy opportunities off of their mistakes. In the second half we tried way too hard at trying to make things happen off the dribble, and that's something that also happened (Friday night) and we're trying to get away from that."
Holleman led the Mustangs with 14 points, while Beeler and reserve forward Ellen Degler each scored 10.
The Mustangs don't play again until Jan. 4 when they go on the road to play Winona State, followed by a game against Upper Iowa the next day. Kruger said her squad needs to view this break as an opportunity for a fresh start after a disappointing opening to the season.
"It we go home over break and we mope about it and we don't change our mindset, then we're going to continue on this same path," she said. "But if we go home, come back with a different mentality ... there's over half of our conference schedule left and we have to make a run. We just can't continue on this same path, it's tough on our kids and it's tough on our staff and we need to find a different way to get things done."