Cougars Win on Senior Day
The University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball team closed out its 2012-13 home slate in style with an 81-63 victory against Wayne State College.
USF (12-12, 9-11 NSIC) continued its hot-and-cold shooting from the perimeter. Less than 12 hours removed from a 5-for-26 downtown performance versus Augustana College, the Cougars torched the Wildcats from the arc, dropping in 13 of 20 three-point attempts, including 8-for-11 in the second half.
Wayne State (15-9, 11-9 NSIC) led 34-32 at the half but had no answer for the Cougars’ perimeter scoring, as Laura Johnson, Bailey Bouman and Alyssa Rushton combined to shoot 11-for-15 from three.
Rushton earned top scoring honors. The senior finished with a game-high 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting. She also pulled down seven boards and had five assists.
Senior reserve center Kelli Hoff—a player seldom at center stage that Traphagen called the most selfess player he’s ever coached—made her first career start on Senior Day and made the most of the opportunity. Hoff tied her career-high with 11 points and chipped in three rebounds and two blocks.
Laura Johnson opened scoring with a three-pointer and the Cougars moved ahead 5-2 after Hoff’s putback at the 17:25 mark of the first half. Leading 10-7, poor decision-making by the Cougars resulted in six straight points for the Wildcats. Reserve sniper Bailey Bouman entered the game and 34 seconds later tied it at 13-13 with a three from the right corner. She hit a second trey at the 6:14 mark and Jaicee Ulmer followed suit after a pretty dish by Hoff to give USF the 24-18 edge.
The Wildcats retaliated with back-to-back treys and grabbed the lead at 28-26 before Hoff tied it with a reverse spin move.
The teams traded points the final three minutes and the Cougars trailed at the half, 34-32.
Out of the break, Hoff scored the first five points of the second half to give the Cougars a 37-34 lead. After Wayne State tied it with a traditional three point play, Rushton drained a trey from the top of the key.
The game remained close and it appeared that the Cougars were in trouble when Johnson was tagged with her fourth foul with more than 15 minutes left in the game.
But Rushton and Hoff picked up the slack while USF’s leading scorer was confined to the bench. The duo combined for a nice give and go and Rushton knocked down another three to make it 47-41 with 13:21 to play.
The Wildcats stormed all the way back and moved in front 52-51 on Jordan Spencer’s layup with 8:34 on the clock. The visitors lost the lead for good nine seconds later courtesy of—yes—a three by Chrissy Strassburg.
Johnson reentered the contest and immediately hit a three to ignite a 20-7 Cougar run that was capped when Bouman hit a pair of technical free throws that gave USF the commanding 74-59 advantage.
Up by 20 at 81-61, Traphagen emptied his bench and the Cougars coasted to the victory.
Johnson finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season. Bouman had 11 points and two blocks.
The Cougars couldn’t miss from any spot on the Stewart Center court. USF shot 50 percent from the field, 65 percent from three and knocked down 10 of 11 free throws.
USF edged WSC on the glass, 41-31 but committed 18 turnovers to the Wildcats’ 11 miscues.
The Cougars close out the regular season next weekend at Concordia-St. Paul and MSU-Mankato.