WAYNE – A mid-week non-conference showdown took over Rice Auditorium as a NCAA Division II hosted a NAIA DII women’s basketball team.
Wednesday night also marked the first meeting since the 1990-91 season between Wayne State College and #24 Midland (Fremont).
Midland University got off to a hot start hitting 8 three’s in the opening half. WSC led after a quarter 16-13 as the Warriors kept the game close with a 19-18 second. At the break, the ‘Cats held a 34-32 lead. In the third, Wayne State went on a 20-11 run while both teams finished the fourth with 10 points. The Warriors were limited to 1-10 from behind the arc in the second half as Wayne State College held on for the 64-53 win.
The loss will not count against the Warriors as it was an exhibition game for them as Midland remains 8-6 overall. WSC improves to 8-3 on the season and closes out non-conference play at 4-1.
Coach Brent Pollari said the second half message was they needed to adjust.
“They were starting to go five-out on us,” said Pollari. “Which, if you’re in a zone that leaves four to guard five. So, we had to make some different adjustments to that, but that’s what I was most proud of.”
Erin Norling posted a team-high 19 points on 6-11 shooting from the field (1-3 3PT) while grabbing eight board and leading WSC with six assists. Brittany Bongartz followed with 12 points as Halley Busse tacked on nine points. Andrea Larson was the team leader in rebounds with 12 (three points).
Haley Vesey added seven points and nine boards. She talked about the win.
“I think it’s great momentum going into break and everyone is going to home and work hard,” Vesey added. “We’re going to prove ourselves coming here (against) Augustana on the 30th.”
Other scoring came from Maggie Lowe (five), Kylie Hammer (three) and two points each from Autumn Mlinar, Amelia Ivester and Taylor Reiner.
The ‘Cats shot 23-63 (36.5%) from the field, 7-22 (31.8%) from behind the arc and 11-16 (68.8%) from the foul line.
Casey Thompson paced the Warriors with 14 points and eight rebounds as Maddie Meadows tallied 12 points (4-8 3PT).
Midland finished 18-65 (27.7%) from the floor, 9-31 (29%) from the three point line and 8-12 (66.7%) from the charity stripe.
Scoring by quarter:
1st 2nd Half 3rd 4th Final:
13 19 32 11 10 53 – Midland University
16 18 34 20 10 64 – Wayne State College
Coach Pollari and Vesey both mentioned what the break means to the program.
“I hope they heal, I hope they have fun, relax and get to be with their families and friends,” Pollari mentioned. “You know basketball, you don’t get a lot of time during season and I hope they get to spend some time with their families and enjoy it.”
“I think during those six days we just make sure we get a lot of rest and then shots up; a little bit of conditioning on our own,” said Vesey. “Come back and spend some time as a team, work at practice and just keep grinding.”
The Wayne State College women will next host Augustana University on Sunday, December 30 at 1:30 p.m. followed a men’s game at 3:30 p.m.