USF Edges Winona State in Thrilling Fashion
SIOUX FALLS, SD — Sioux Falls women’s basketball survived a late rally to edge Winona State 53-49 in a nailbiter on Friday night in the Stewart Center. Chrissy Strassburg led all scorers with 17 points and was perfect from the floor (3-3 FG, 2-2 3PT, 9-9 FT) and added two assists and two steals to her line.
In a game that sported one tie and five lead changes, the Cougars found themselves up 48-41 after a Bailey Bouman three-pointer. However, Winona State electrified the Warrior faithful with an 8-0 run that moved the visitors in front by one, 49-48 with 49 seconds left in the game.
But USF responded well in the closing seconds, led by Strassburg. The Elk point native had five of her game-high 17 points in the final thirty seconds, and iced the game by calmly sinking two free throws with eight seconds to play.
USF improved to 9-8 (6-7, NSIC) with the victory while Winona State dropped to 14-6 (8-5 NSIC).
The Cougars are now 6-0 at home this season when leading at halftime.
USF started the game a little sluggish, turning the ball over three times in the game’s five opening minutes and found themselves in a 10-4 hole. After Coach Traphagen called a timeout, Laura Johnson hit a high-arching jumper in the paint at the 14:03 mark, an occurrence that became commonplace for the hosts over the game’s next few minutes. Johnson followed with a three-ball and at the end of the show, USF led 16-10, closing a 12-0 run.
A downpour of USF three-pointers sent the Stewart Center into a frenzy, as the Cougars went 5-for-5 from downtown in a span of four and a half minutes. USF had nearly doubled up WSU, 29-15, but the Warriors ended the half on a 7-0 spurt to cut the Cougars’ lead at the break to eight points at 29-22.
The Warriors struggled mightily on offense (24.1% from the floor) in the first half but came out the break with the hot hand, shooting 9-for-20 the rest of the way. WSU took their first lead since the 11:26 mark of the first half when two Becca Friestleben free throws tickled the net to give the Warriors the 49-48 advantage with 49 seconds left.
Strassburg converted an old-fashioned three point plays on the Cougars’ next possession and followed with two clutch free throws to seal the victory.
USF shot 33 percent (16-48) on the night, including a 7-13 (54 percent) clip from three and a 78 percent (14-18) mark from the free throw line.
Winona State scored at a 33 percent (16-49) clip as well while knocking down 4-18 (22 percent) of its threes and 81 percent (13-16) of its free throws.
Amber Paden scored a career-high 12 points for the Cougars, while Alyssa Rushton finished with six points and three rebounds. Bouman chipped in six off the bench. Johnson finished with five points but had 15 rebounds and three blocks—both tying her career bests.
The Cougars were charged with just 11 turnovers and the teams tied in the rebounding department (35-35). USF’s bench outscored the WSU reserves, 12-10.
USF will continue its conference schedule on Saturday (4 p.m.) when they host Upper Iowa (7-13, 4-9 NSIC).
Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls