SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (March 3, 2014) - The University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball postseason run came to an end on Monday night dropping a tough game against the No. 3 seed in the South Division in Concordia-St. Paul. The Golden Bears were paced by a trio of athletes as Anika Whiting, Rachel Hansen and Ameshia Kearney combined to score 63 of CU’s 78 points on their way to a 78-66 victory at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls.
The loss ends the Cougars season as they go 14-15 on the year while Concordia-St. Paul (24-8) advances to the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament Championship where they will face Northern State.
The first half featured two outstanding defenses as the two teams combined to shoot 33.3% from the field. USF headed into the locker room trailing by seven points after Anika Whiting hit a short jumper as time expired.
Laura Johnson and Taylor Varsho led the Cougars on the offensive end of the court putting in 15 points each for the USF. For Johnson it was her ninth double-double of the season as she also grabbed 12 rebounds. Johnson also moved her way up the USF career scoring charts as her 15 points bumps her into 5th place all-time with 1402 career points. Joining Johnson and Varsho in double-figures was Jaicee Ulmer who put in 12 points and grabbed six rebounds for USF.
The Cougars looked to close the gap early in the second half as a Taylor Varsho layup with 16:25 left brought USF within four points of CU. However the Golden Bears kept the Cougars at bay in the second half as anytime USF tried to close the gap, CU answered with points of their own. Concordia-St., pulled away for good when they went on an 8-0 run near the midway point of the second period to put them up 63-46 with 9:54 left in the game. The run was capped off when Rachel Hansen was fouled on a layup and completed the three-point play at the charity stripe.
Late in the game the Cougars tried to make a comeback, but it was too little too late as the Golden Bears ended the game with a 78-66 victory.
After committing seven first-half turnovers, USF committed only two in the final twenty minutes of action. Unfortunately for Cougars that wouldn’t be enough as the Golden Bears committed only one turnover in the second half and three total turnovers.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line as USF shot 67.6% (10-of-17) while CU went 58.8% (25-of-37) on the night.
A strong second-half of rebounding for CU put the nail in the coffin for USF as the Cougars were outrebounded 24-17 in the second period including six offensive rebounds for Concordia-St. Paul . The Golden Bears also improved offensively in the second half shooting 48.4% from the field in the final twenty minutes of action.
The play of Anika Whiting proved to be too much for the Cougars as she recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
The Cougars end their second year of competing in the NSIC and NCAA Division II with a 14-15 record, including going 8-14 in the conference.
Paul Watley University of Sioux Falls Sports Information