KEARNEY – Wayne State was able to survive slow starts in the first and third quarters and began their 2019-20 season with a region opponent Friday night.
From the Health & Sports Center in Kearney, WSC competed with Northwest Missouri State to open the UNK Crossover Tourney.
Wayne College led for the entire fourth quarter and won their 11th consecutive season opener with a final of 61-57.
Both teams started off slow where the Bearcats took the early lead at 14-13. Wayne State bounced back in the second quarter thanks to a 16-10 scoring margin to lead 29-24 at the break. Northwest Missouri State then opened the second half with an 8-0 run with 7:29 left in the third. NWMSU outscored the ‘Cats in the third (18-15) but trailed 44-42. In the fourth, Wayne State won the quarter 17-15 and the game 61-57. WSC opens their season at 1-0 while the Bearcats fall to 0-1.
Junior forward Erin Norling finished with 19 points and six boards to lead WSC on the court from 7-10 shooting (1-2 3PT/4-6 FT). Other double figure scorers came from junior point guard Halley Busse with 15 points and three steals (5-12 FG/2-5 3PT/3-3 FT) as junior center Brittany Bongartz added 13 points and six rebounds.
Sophomore guard Kylie Hammer tallied seven points and three rebounds; senior guard Haley Vesey (six boards) scored three points and had two steals as sophomore guard Autumn Mlinar (three assists) and freshman guard Josey Ryan scored two points.
Wayne State College finished 21-56 (37.5%) from the floor, 5-11 (45.5%) from behind the arc and 14-22 (63.6%) from the foul line.
Northwest Missouri State leaders were Kendey Eaton with 17 points; Jayna Green with 11 points and seven rebounds as Paityn Rau had 10 points.
The Bearcats shot 22-54 (40.7%) from the field, 3-15 (20%) from the three-point line and 10-13 (76.9%) from the free throw line.
Wayne State College will next face Nebraska-Kearney at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage on The City ‘KCTY’ 98.9/1590 and online at waynedailynews.com is set for 5 p.m.
UNK defeated Minnesota Crookston 79-69.