Pollari gets 100th win in weekend road sweep

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Wayne State rallied from a 46-22 deficit early in the third quarter and stormed back to shock host Colorado Mesa 62-59 Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn-Airport Thanksgiving Women’s Basketball Classic in Grand Junction, Colo. 

The win gave Wildcat coach Brent Pollari his 100th career win and capped a successful weekend for the 4-1 Wildcats women.

Wayne State trailed 18-14 after one quarter and still trailed by four early in the second when the Mavericks went on a 14-0 run and led by as many as 22 before going into halftime with a 43-22 advantage.

That’s when things turned the Wildcats’ way.

Wayne State used a 13-0 run in the third quarter and were able to close the gap to 12 at 50-38 going into the final period.

Kassidy Pingel drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to shave the Maverick lead to nine at 50-41 early in the fourth, and the Wildcats finally erased the lead with a Kylah vanDonkersgoed basket and back-to-back buckets by Annie Guntzel to tie the score at 55-55 with 2:29 to play.

After the Mavericks made a pair of free throws to go up two, Pingel had consecutive baskets and WSC took a 59-57 lead with 1:07 to play.

A pair of Lauren Zacharias free throws gave the ‘Cats a 61-57 cushion, but the Mavericks cut the lead to two with :08 left to make the score 61-59. Zacharias was fouled on the inbounds pass and sank one of two free throws, and a desperation 3-pointer fell short, sealing the Wildcat comeback win.

Zacharias scored 17 points to lead Wayne State followed by Pingel with 15 and Guentzel 12. Zacharias and Maya Fitzpatrick each had four rebounds.  Zacharias had five assists and six steals to lead the ‘Cats in both categories.

On Friday, Zacharias scorched the nets for 37 points in just 22 minutes and Wayne State made 14 3-pointers while shooting over 52 percent from the field to earn a 90-60 blowout win over Fort Lewis College.

Zacharias scored the first nine points of the game for WSC in the first 2:01, draining a 3-pointer followed by an old-fashioned three-point play and another 3-pointer to give the ‘Cats an early 9-2 lead. 

The Skyhawks closed the deficit to 17-12 after one quarter, but Wayne State went 6-of-12 from 3-point range in the second quarter to build a 20-point halftime lead, and Fort Lewis never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

Zacharias’ career-high 37 points were the most scored by a Wildcat player since Amy Brodersen’s 37 points against Briar Cliff in 1995. She was 12-of-18 from the field and 7-for-10 behind the arc to go with a perfect 6-of-6 at the stripe. The seven 3-pointers are the most in a game for WSC since Jennifer Yee sank seven against Mary on Dec. 7, 2007 and is tied for the fifth most treys in a single game. 

Sophomore Delaney Clark also hit double digits with 14 points going 5-for-8 from the field and 4-of-7 from 3-point range.

Abby Kopecky grabbed eight boards for WSC. Clark and Kopecky each had five assists while Zacharias and Fitzpatrick each had three steals.

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