Cougars Shoot Past Mavericks, 77-64
With a quartet of Cougars in double figures, USF stormed past previously undefeated Minnesota State, Mankato 77-64 in women's basketball action at the Stewart Center on Saturday. The Cougars improve to 5-4 on the season (2-3, NSIC) while the Mavericks slipped to 7-1 (4-1, NSIC).
A Cougar squad that entered the contest shooting just 25.9% from beyond the arc shelled the Mavericks with 13 three-pointers on a 61.9% (13-for-21) clip.
The USF defense tallied eight steals and four blocks and never looked back in holding the Mavericks to a 17.6% three-point percentage.
Johnson led the Cougars with 24 points, 20 of which came in the first half, while Alyssa Rushton followed with a career-high 20 points that included 8-for-8 from the stripe. Teagan Molden and Jaicee Ulmer finished with 10 apiece.
"It felt awesome to knock shots down; we knew it was due time and just a matter of time before we started knocking them down," said Johnson, who went 6-for-8 from long range. "It seemed like a lot of people were on tonight and we got the win because of it."
fun playing team basketball when everyone's a threat and they have to focus on
all five of us out there instead of just one person," she added.
The Cougars edged the Mavericks on the glass, 41-35, but saw their interior game shut down by the visitors, as they scored only 14 points in the paint.
USF was on the board first with a layup by Teagan Molden and the Cougars held an 8-7 lead before the visiting Mavericks settled in with an 8-0 run that was aided by five USF turnovers to take a 15-8 lead with 12:58 left in the first half. The Cougars erased the deficit with a 15-6 run, during which Johnson netted 11 points. A Johnson trey allowed USF to regain the lead at 23-21. The Cougars tacked on two more three-balls to take a 33-27 advantage into the break.
Sioux Falls opened the second half on a 19-8 run and great defensive rebounding again allowed the points to come uninterrupted. The Cougars drained five three-pointers during the stretch and led by as many as 19 points before the Mavericks leveled out on the offensive end. MSU trimmed the margin to 11 points with less than eight minutes to play but could not get enough stops to make much headway into the commanding lead.
The Cougars went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes to create the final margin.
Bailey Bouman chipped in six points with a pair of three-pointers to go with three rebounds and two steals.
USF is off for holiday break and will return to the hardwood on January 4, when they travel to Upper Iowa.