The St. Cloud State women’s basketball team earned a much needed sweep at home, following a tough four-game road trip that led to them falling from #1 in the North Division all the way down to the #4 seed.
On Friday night, the Huskies dominated NSIC rival University of Mary 70-51. The win was made all the more impressive when considering the fact that the Marauders were coming off a phenomenal weekend of play that saw them take down #14 Winona State 83-80 and overcome Upper Iowa by a final of 63-50.
The key to the win was, without a doubt, the team defense the Huskies put on display. They held the Marauders to 30 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent shooting from beyond the arc. They also did a great job matching up with the NSIC’s leading scorer Brittney Dietz. Dietz came into the contest averaging 22.3 points per contest, but was held to just 17 points on Friday, and most of her scoring came in garbage time.
Chelsea Nooker, Karissa LeCaptain and Betsy MacDonald were determined to keep the momentum going for the Huskies on Saturday and all put on stellar performances in the Huskies 58-51 win over Minot State University.
LeCaptain finished the game with another double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), Betsy MacDonald hit three, three-pointers en route to a 13 point performance, and Chelsea Nooker came up big for the team in the second half of a tight game. She sparked the offense with her game-high 23 points on 9 of 18 shooting and led the defense with nine rebounds and three steals.
When asked about Nooker’s performance down the stretch of the game, Betsy MacDonald said, “Chelsea’s the most balanced player that I’ve ever played with. She’s got the offensive and defensive [skills] that are so fun to play with.”
MacDonald also went on to highlight how much easier her job is as a point guard when she has a teammate like Chelsea Nooker, “It helps, I can catch my breath by just giving it to her and letting her do the work.”
With the wins the Huskies are now tied with Minnesota-Crookston for the third seed in the NSIC North Division. The team will be in action at Halenbeck Hall again next weekend, hosting Southwest Minnesota State on Friday at 6 p.m. and rival University of Sioux Falls on Saturday at 4 p.m.
When asked what the team has to do to extend their two game winning streak to three games next Friday, MacDonald said, “Everything comes down to team defense with us. Whenever we play solid defense, the offense just comes naturally. That’s how we win ball games.”
When asked about Saturday’s game against the University of Sioux Falls Betsy smiled and said, “They’re going to want it bad, because we beat them in the playoffs last year. We have to ready and play our game [on Saturday].”
The Sioux Falls game will also provide an interesting matchup for Betsy as she has the daunting task of trying to slow down Taylor Varsho. When asked how she was going to get the job done, Betsy’s grin widened as she said, “It’s going to be a showdown”.
It looks like the Huskies are eager for the challenges that next weekend will bring.