Nooker’s triple-double not enough for victory

The St. Cloud State women’s basketball team officially opened the season at home against the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Hardrockers. Despite being in control for most of the contest the Huskies would eventually fall in overtime by a final of 87-86.

Both teams came out of the gates on fire and both hit over 50 percent of their shots in the first half (Huskies 57 percent; Hardrockers 52 percent).

Karissa LeCaptain would lead the charge for the Huskies scoring 13 points on five of six shooting. Lexy Petermann would also record double-digits by halftime with 11 points on four of nine shooting.

The Hardrockers battled back from a 45-40 deficit in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game at 54-53 with 3:10 left. The Huskies came back to tie it at 62-62 heading into the fourth frame.

The Huskies would go up by as many as seven points in the final quarter of play, but couldn’t close the door on the opposition. The Hardrockers went on an 11-4 run in the final three minutes, including a game-tying layup from Kahlie Peterson with 9 seconds left to force overtime.

The Huskies led for the majority of overtime, in fact, the Hardrockers gained their first and only lead of the period off a Taylor Molstad three with 9 seconds remaining.

The Huskies did have a final chance to steal the victory, but a Betsy MacDonald three went wide right as the buzzer sounded.

The Huskies defense struggled to lock down the opposition for the second game in a row as they allowed the Hardrockers connected on 48 percent of their shot attempts throughout the game.

When asked what the team has to do defensively to correct this coming into the Duluth game on Saturday, Lexy Petermann said, “We have to get better ball pressure and we have to deny the passes. It’s just a discipline thing. We know that we can do it, but we just have to [consistently] do it.”

The Duluth game will mark the start of the NSIC schedule for the Huskies. It’ll be a big challenge as the Huskies saw their 8-0 undefeated streak–that got them ranked #21 last season–get snapped the last time they traveled to take on the Bulldogs.

Despite the previous results, Lexy Petermann is eager for the new challenges that Duluth will bring, “I’m excited to play them because they revamped their coaching system. It’s always tough playing Duluth, they’re our rival.”

When asked what the biggest challenge will be on Saturday, Petermann responded, “Staying mentally strong, this one was a dagger to the heart. We had plenty of opportunities to take it but we didn’t.”

There were a few bright spots for the Huskies in the loss. Karissa LeCaptain, Chelsea Nooker, Lexy Petermann and Betsy MacDonald all tallied double-figures. Petermann finished with a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Chelsea Nooker controlled the game from start to finish and recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

When asked about Nooker’s performance, Petermann said, “Exactly what do you say about her? She’s a stud and an all-around great athlete… I sometimes find myself just watching her go because it’s so much fun to see what she can do, because she can really do everything.”

Nooker will have to be a catalyst for the Huskies offense again on Saturday if they hope to pick up a win on the road against Duluth. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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