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WSC women keep rolling

January 15, 2019 GMT

WAYNE — The Wayne State women’s basketball team keeps rolling along under its first-year coach, Brent Pollari.

The Wildcats used a weekend sweep of Winona State and Upper Iowa University to improve to 11-5 overall and 6-4 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, punctuated by a decisive 99-74 win over Upper Iowa on Saturday afternoon.

Wayne State led wire-to-wire against the Peacocks and came within a point of the century mark but still left Pollari with several improvements scheduled for this week’s practices.

“Offensively, we may have played our best game of the year,” Pollari said. “But we have some work to do defensively — especially in the post.”

Upper Iowa scored 30 of its 74 points in the paint, but the Wildcat defense took care of any inequities on the other side of the court.

“We had 26 assists on 33 baskets from the field,” Pollari said. “We shared the ball very well today.”

The Wildcats grabbed a 25-15 advantage at the end of the first 12 minutes and then added 10 points to the lead by the intermission.

With the score tied at 5 early in the opening frame, Erin Norling scored on n assist from Haley Vesey with 6 minutes, 10 seconds to go in the quarter.

Vesey grabbed a defensive rebound, and the Wildcats worked it in with Norling returning the favor to Brittany Bongartz, finding her inside for a traditional three-point play with 5:20 to go in the first.

In the second half, Wayne High School standout Kylie Hammer hit four of her five 3-pointers to keep the Wildcats in the lead.

“I kind of got into the flow of things, in rhythm,” Hammer said. “My teammates have made the transition into college basketball very easy. I kind of know in warmups whether I’m going to have a good night — I made a lot of shots in warmups.”

Hammer also contributed four assists and a team-high six steals in the contest.

Despite the Wildcats’ 26 assists, the Peacocks outrebounded Wayne State 40-35, a statistic that bothers Pollari down the road.

“There are some ‘work’ statistics that will concern you after a game like this,” he said. “We won by 25 points, but we lost the rebound game by five — we can’t do that every night and expect to keep winning in this league.”

Upper Iowa closed to within 16 in the second half, but a Vesey 3-pointer and another from Halley Busse, who finished with a team-high 18 points, put the game out of reach with 5:21 left on the clock.

The Wildcats went up by 24 on Hammer’s last 3 of the game and 26 after another Busse long ball with :54 left.

“I really like where we’re at right now,” Pollari said. “But we have a lot to work on — we need to get better every single game.”

UIU 15 15 25 19 — 74

WSC 25 25 27 22 — 99

UPPER IOWA UNIVERSITY (3-15, 0-10): Natalie Dinius 2 2-2 8; Laker Ward 2 0-0 6; Casey Miles 0 2-2 2; Bekka Pierson 1 3-4 5; Haley Martin 1 1-4 3; Marina Peinado 0 2-2 2; Emma Gaber 4 0-0 12; Amanda Cartney 1 0-0 2; Savannah Domeyer 9 2-3 20; Caylin Rufus 2 0-0 4; Claudia Morente 1 0-0 3; Erica Armstrong 0 1-4 1; Ally Fink 3 0-0 6.

WAYNE STATE COLLEGE (11-5, 6-4): Maggie Lowe 1 0-0 2; Erin Norling 6 5-5 17; Halley Busse 7 1-3 18; Andrea Larson 3 2-2 9; Brittany Bongartz 3 5-5 11; Haley Vesey 5 0-0 14; Autumn Mlinar 0 2-2 2; Kylie Hammer 6 0-0 17; Amelia Ivester 1 0-0 2; Taylor Reiner 1 5-6 7.