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SMSU Women Swamp Sioux Falls With Big Second Half

Mustangs keep postseason hope alive with 77-54 victory
Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 10:52 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Southwest Minnesota State women’s basketball team kept its postseason hopes alive on Saturday afternoon with a convincing 77-54 road victory over the University of Sioux Falls inside the Stewart Center.

The victory pushes SMSU’s record to 9-4 overall, 7-4 NSIC South, as they battle for one of the top four spots in the NSIC South Division and qualify for the NSIC Tournament.

The two teams meet once again at 2 p.m. on Sunday with the winner earning a spot in the tournament, while the loser will have its season come to an end.

Jenna Borchers scored a game-high 23 points on 8 of 15 shooting with four 3-pointers to pace the Mustangs, while teammate Meleah Reinahrt added 17 points on three 3 3-pointers and a perfect 8 of 8 from the free throw line. Abuk Akoi also reached doubles figures in scoring with 10 points, grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and recorded two blocked shots. She now has 181 career blocked shots, two shy of tying Chrishawn McArthur (1993-96) atop the program record book with 183.

SMSU finished the night shooting 42 percent (25 of 60) from the field, including a blistering 13 of 26 from 3-point range. SMSU, which trailed 33-28 at halftime, while shooting 28 percent, came out on fire in the second half, shooting 59 percent in a decisive third quarter and shot 50 percent in the fourth quarter.

SMSU used a huge third quarter run to seal the win and earn just its second victory over USF in the last 15 games. Trailing 36-28 early in the second half, Borchers, Sadie Stelter and Reinhart each hit 3-pointers in an 11-0 run that put the Mustangs in front at 39-36 with 7:57 left in the third.

USF would hold a 42-41 lead with five minutes left in the third, but a Akoi layup started a 14-0 run to close the quarter and put SMSU in the lead at 55-42 after three. The Mustangs made 5 of 6 shots during the run and held USF to 0 for 6 shooting with two turnovers.

Akoi started the fourth quarter with a pair of field goals to push the run to 18 straight points over a six-and-a-half-minute span and make the score 59-42. USF would finally break the scoreless drought with a field goal, but SMSU answered with eight straight points, capped by an Erin Baxter 3-pointer to extend the lead to 67-44.

SMSU held a 12-10 advantage after one quarter of play and build a 15-10 lead early in the second quarter, but USF used an 8-2 run to gain an 18-17 lead. USF would later score seven straight points to take a six-point, 30-24 lead with 1:33 remaining in the half and then used a last-second 3-pointer by Anna Goodhope to take the 33-28 halftime lead.

Goodhope led the Cougars with a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds. USF closed the game shooting 28 percent (19 of 68), including 7 of 25 from 3-point range.

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