Wayne State needed a 19-6 third quarter to break open a close, sluggish game to come away with a 58-45 win over Rockhurst in non-conference women’s basketball action Friday at Rice Auditorium.
Neither team could make a shot in the first quarter as the two teams played to an 8-8 tie after Wayne State shot 17.6 percent on 3-of-17 shooting from the field while Rockhurst was 3 of 13 for 23 percent. Wayne State took a pair of five-point leads in the second quarter before finishing with a 21-20 lead at intermission.
Maggie Schulte hit a 3-pointer and jumper on back-to-back possessions, followed by an Anna Martensen layup that put Wayne State in front 16-11 with 6:51 remaining in the half. After Rockhurst scored the next five points to forge a 16-16 tie, the Wildcats took another five-point lead at 21-16 following two Evelyn Knox free throws until the Hawks closed the gap to 21-20 at the break.
The turning point in the game came in the third quarter when Wayne State held Rockhurst without a point for just under seven minutes. The Wildcats built a double-digit lead as the Wayne State defense held the Hawks to just 3-of-19 shooting in the third quarter.
Wayne State held a 25-22 lead at the 8:42 mark of the third quarter and scored the next 11 points while holding the Hawks scoreless for 6:44 to take a commanding 36-22 lead. Haley Moore started the run with a 3-pointer followed by a pair of Martensen free throws and layup. Schulte and Paige Ballinger each added baskets to put the Wildcats up by 14. The Wildcats ended the third quarter with a 19-6 scoring advantage and held a 40-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Wayne State scored the opening five points of the fourth quarter to take their biggest lead of the game at 45-26 with 7:53 left in the game and maintained a double-digit lead to finish with the 58-45 win.
Wayne State finished the game making 19-of-54 shots, going just 4 of 17 from the 3-point line. The Wildcats were 16-of-23 at the charity stripe. Martensen paced the Wildcats with 15 points, going 5-of-7 from the field and 5-for-6 at the free throw line. Schulte also hit double figures with 10 points.
Rockhurst was held to just 25.4 percent on 16-of-63 shooting, going 4-of-18 behind the 3-point line and 9-for-11 at the foul stripe. Mary Dineen was the lone double digit scorer for the Hawks with 17 points.
Wayne State held a 44-39 edge in rebounding over Rockhurst thanks to seven boards each from Schulte and Ballinger while Martensen added six caroms. Moore was credited with four of Wayne State’s 10 assists while Maggie Lowe had a team-high three steals. Both teams had 16 turnovers in the contest, but WSC held a 17-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
The Wildcats won their 27th consecutive non-conference game with the win, improving to 3-0 on the season. They open Northern Sun Conference play Monday evening, traveling to Sioux Falls for a 6 p.m. contest at Augustana.