Szymanski, Hummel Propel USF in NSIC Tourney

Szymanski, Hummel Propel USF in NSIC Tourney

SIOUX FALLS – Same story, different year.

For the third consecutive season, the University of Sioux Falls Women’s Basketball Team (15-12) has advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NSIC/Sanford Health Postseason Tournament after Kaely Hummel and Mariah Szymanski each scored 20 points to rally the Cougars past the University of Mary (13-16), 60-50 at the Stewart Center on Wednesday.

USF claimed its eighth win in the past nine tournament games and ran its record to 10-4 overall in NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament play. With the victory, the Cougars will face No. 2 seed Minnesota State Moorhead at 8 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 25) at the Sanford Pentagon. The win snapped a four-game losing streak at home.

“That was a really gutty performance tonight,” said USF Women’s Head Coach Travis Traphagen, whose team overcame an 11-point deficit (21-10, 7:14, 1st half) to record the win. “We fought through some shooting struggles, we found our way in the second half. I was also really pleased with the defensive effort, particularly in the second half, holding them to just 22 points.”

Tonight was the first time this season that both Szymanski and Hummel both cracked 20 points in the same game. Hummel, who reached 20 points for the seventh time, recorded double digits for the 27th straight game. She made 5-of-15 from the field, including a trio of treys and 7-of-10 from the foul line while suppyling four assists and three rebounds. As for Szymanski, she hit 8-of-18 from the field, including 3-of-5 from distance. The sophomore from Pulaski, Wisc., tallied 20 points for the sixth this season. She also had three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in playing all 40 minutes. Also played a solid game for USF was Jacey Huinker, who had six points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Cougars, which trailed 28-20 at halftime, outscored U-Mary 40-22 in the second half.  The Cougars scored more points in the fourth quarter (24) than they did in the first half.

After shooting just 5-of-24 for 20 percent in the first half, the Cougars made 13-of-27 for 48.1 percent. The held U-Mary to just 9-of-30 from the field for 30 percent in the second half. U-Mary was led by Gabbie Bohl, who had a double double of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Lauren Rotunda added 10 points and eight boards. While USF was outboarded, 37-34, the Cougars forced 15 turnovers, including eight steals and six blocked shots. Moira Duffy added four to her seasonal record now at 78.  Also for USF Augusta Thramer was solid with seven points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

While U-Mary managed a 22-18 advantage of points in the paint, USF held huge edges in fast break points (13-0) and points off turnovers (21-4).

Game Breakdown –

After U-Mary’s Bohl scored a couple of baskets inside, Hummel knocked down a three and then Szymanski followed a 3-pointer herself as the Cougars took a 6-4 lead at the five minute mark. It would be the final lead of the first half, The Marauders answered with five straight points for a 9-6 lead (2:41). Then, they ended the quarter with six straight points as the visitors led, 15-8 after the first quarter.

In that opening stanza, the Cougars made just 2-of-12 shots for 16.7 percent. Both baskets were three pointers. Meanwhile, the Marauders made 6-of-14 for 43 percent, including all three of their three pointers.

Szymanski stopped an 8-0 run with a foul line extended jumper as the Cougars trailed, 17-10 early in the second quarter. But the Marauders had the momentum and extended the advantage to 21-10 before Thramer made a pair of free throws to end the run.

USF twice cut the lead to six (24-18, 4:00; and 26-20, 1:51) but failed to sustain offense as the Marauders took a 28-20 lead to the break. Overall in the first half, USF was just 5-of-24 from the field for 20 percent with just 3-of-9 conversions from deep. USF, which was outrebounded 19-to-16 had eight turnovers. U-Mary was 11-of-27 for 41 percent from the field, making 4-of-7 from three point range for 57.1 percent. Bohl led U-Mary with 12 points as the Marauders held a commanding 12-2 edge with points in the paint.

Early in the third quarter, Hummel knocked down her second three of the game as the Cougars trailed 28-23.  Later six, straight points from Szymanski helped USF draw within 32-30 at the 4;46 mark of the third quarter. The Marauders answered with six straight to take a 38-34 lead before Abby Slater’s jumper and Jacey Huinker’s lay-up ended the run at the 2:00 mark.  When Szymanski took a fastbreak drive and converted at the 1:09 mark, the Cougars trailed 38-36.

In the fourth quarter, USF would do its heaviest damage. They made 7-of-13 field goals and outscored U-Mary, 24-12. Early in the quarter, Thramer hit a jumper, which was followed up by a Hummel three and an up and under from Syzmanski as the Cougars took their first lead of the game with under eight to play (43-39).

Hummel again came up big with a three point play and Huinker’s jumper gave USF a 49-39 lead at the 5:37 mark and forced a U-Mary timeout.  After four straight from the Marauders, Szymanski knocked down a three from the top of the key as the Cougars retook a nine-point lead at 52-43. When Hummel had another three-point play with 1:29 left, USF led, 55-45, and the issue was decided.

 

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