The Golden Eagles fall to 6-16.

    Wayne State College (Neb.) picked up their 14th win in the NSIC with a 67-60 win over The University of Minnesota Crookston who fell to 6-11 in conference play. Wayne State held the lead for the majority of the game. The Golden Eagles kept themselves in the game, but they could not overcome the offense from Wayne State, as the Wildcats shot 43.4 percent from the field.   

    The Golden Eagles fall to 6-16 (6-12 NSIC) with Saturday’s loss. Wayne State improves to 20-6 (14-4 NSIC) with the victory. Minnesota Crookston falls to 24-8 all-time against the Wildcats.   

    Minnesota Crookston had two players in double-digits. Emily Gruber (Sr., F/C, Monticello, Minn.) led the Golden Eagles offensively. She picked up 21 points, six rebounds and two assists. Gruber need just 70 points to become the 11th player in school history to reach 1,000 points. Isieoma Odor (R-Jr., F/C, Bloomington, Minn.) picked up 19 points with nine rebounds. Abby Guidinger had four steals and six rebounds for the Golden Eagles as well. Caitlin Michaelis (Jr., G, Marshfield, Wis.) had nine points and nine boards, while Ashley Freund (Fr., G/F, Jordan, Minn.) played her most substantial minutes of the season. Freund finished seven boards in 28 minutes.   

    The Golden Eagles played strong defensively as they limited the Wildcats to 67 points. Minnesota Crookston also was strong on the boards as they controlled the glass by the tune of 45-33. The Golden Eagles had 17 offensive rebounds paced by five from Michaelis.   

    Three players picked up double digits for WSU. Kacie O’Conner picked up 16 points. Erin Norling and Andrea Larson each had 10 points. Erin Norling also picked up five rebounds. The Golden Eagles held Wayne State’s leading scorer Paige Ballinger to eight points and six boards.   

    Wayne State started the game with a Ballinger layup. A three by Michaelis gave the Golden Eagles their first lead, 5-4. The Wildcats followed it up with a seven-point run. Three-pointers by Noga and Gruber were able to stop the Wildcats and knot up the score at eleven with 3:45 left in the first quarter.  Wayne State score nine more points in the quarter. Maggie Lowe and O’Connor both contributed with baskets from beyond the arc.   

    After trailing by seven at the end of the first, Odor picked up her first points of the game off a layup. Michaelis’ jumper and Guidinger’s free throw brought the Golden Eagles back within two with 6:56 remaining in the second frame. Two free throws at the hands on Brittany Bongatz stopped the Golden Eagles run. Gruber quickly responded with a layup bringing the score to 22-20 in favor of the Wildcats. O’Connor went on a 5-point run of her own to push the lead out to 27-20. Free throws by Stephanie McWilliams (So., G, Grand Forks, Minn.) and Guidinger brought the score 27-23 Wayne State at the half.   

    The Wildcats opened the second half with four points off a free throw by Maggie Schulte and a three by Halley Busse. A three from Gruber and a jumper by Michaelis brought the Golden Eagles back within three with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter. Ballinger and Odor exchanged layups to keep the Golden Eagles within three. Shots by Ballinger, Lowe, and Larson opened up the score to 42-34 in favor of Wayne State. Minnesota Crookston responded with a three from Gruber to make the score 42-37 to cut the Wildcats lead to five going into the fourth quarter.   

    Larson opened up the fourth quarter with a layup extending the Wildcats lead to 44-37. Odor would respond with a layup and she made her free throw to complete the three-point play to cut the deficit to 44-40. Schulte, Gruber and Lowe exchanged threes for their respective teams bringing the score to 50-43 with 8:10 left in the game. Odor picked up four more points off two free throws and a layup to cut the Wildcats lead back to five. Larson’s jumper stopped Odor’s four-point run. Gruber was able to fight back with a jumper of her own to keep the Golden Eagles within five. A layup by Norling and an O’Connor three gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at ten points. Odor’s two layups were bookends to a jumper by Schulte to cut the lead to 59-51. Odor picked up two free throws to cut Wayne State’s lead to six. Norling’s free throws extended their lead to 63-55. The Golden Eagles answered with a jumper from Michaelis and a three from Gruber, but it would not be enough as the Wildcats went on to win 67-60.   

    Minnesota Crookston will wrap up their 2017-18 home slate with two games next weekend commencing Fri., Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. against Northern State University.