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Kilat Fitzgerald / Winonan
The Winona State University women’s track team sent its jumpers to compete at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Friday. The team took third place with two Warriors placing first in their events.
Jump coach Evan Perkins said having a choice where to compete can help their team.
“This time of the indoor season we really get to pick and choose which meets to attend in order to create the best competition for our athletes,” jump coach Evan Perkins said. “It really shows our depth and skill level. We did really well.”
The long jump was won by the Warriors as they occupied the top three slots with junior Hailey Deschaine at the top. Deschaine was victorious in her event as she set a personal best of 5.57 meters (18 3/4), a provisional qualifying mark.
“It was one of those jumps when you feel it’s going to be a good one while you’re in the air a lot longer. It was my last jump so it felt real good,” Deschaine said. “But my hand happened to brush the sand a little bit behind me and they marked that spot. I actually landed a good four or six inches longer. Working up to this point has been baby steps. To get to that 19 (meter) mark, that’s the big goal.”
Perkins said Deschaine performed well.
“She had a fantastic day,” said Coach Perkins. “We’re excited with conference being three weeks away.”
This was followed by junior Andrea Bartz in second place with a mark of 5.29 meters (17-4 1/4) and sophomore Alexandria Schmidt in third place with a mark of 5.27 meters (17-3 1/2).
Winona State also claimed the triple jump event, which was won by Bartz’s 11.47-meter (37-7 3/4) leap. In second place was sophomore Amanda Schaefer with a mark of 10.98 meters (36 1/4).
“I know I can make it past 11 meters. I did before in high school. It’s frustrating,” Schaefer said. “I haven’t done it for a while and it’s just a little hard to get back into it. But it’s exciting to do again.”
The high jump also put Schaefer in second place when she cleared a provisional qualifying distance of five feet, five and a quarter inches.
“I’ve always done a little bit of everything,” Schaefer said.
Perkins said Schaefer has been able to rebound after breaking her ankle.
“She’s been doing well,” said Perkins. “After she broke her ankle, It was a work in progress with all the rehab to get her healthy. Now she’s doing good things and working on the technique. It’s great to see her get back on that bicycle.”
Winona State competed in one running event at the meet, a 200 meter dash where sophomore Tamika Tucker clocked in 26.54 seconds for the second place spot.
“It was less of a team atmosphere, since not all of us were there to cheer each other on,” Schaefer said. “But I kind of like it when there’s less people. There’s pros and cons.”
Perkins said he was proud of the team’s hard work and progress throughout the season.
Winona State will have its next competition on Friday at St. Thomas in St. Paul before heading to the NSIC Multi Championships on Sunday in Mankato.
Victoria Larson / Winonan
The No. 10 Winona State University women’s basketball team proved on Friday and Saturday the importance of defense in the NSIC conference. Shooting just 35.5 percent Friday against St. Cloud State University and 35.7 percent Saturday against the University of Minnesota-Duluth put a lot of pressure on the Warriors and their defensive end.
Winona State head coach Scott Ballard said he was happy about the team’s defensive effort.
“I’m proud of how we keep playing every possession on defense,” Ballard said. “I wish people would talk more about our defense than they do how many threes we hit, how many points we score.”
Defense was the main theme throughout the weekend as the Warriors struggled to score consistently. Other than senior point guard Connor Nagle’s high shooting percentage, the Warriors had trouble scoring, especially from beyond the arc.
St. Cloud State came into McCown Gymnasium Friday with an 11-6 record in the NSIC, looking to take down the current leaders atop the conference in Winona State.
Nagle scored six of the first eight points for the Warriors, giving them an early 8-4 advantage and leading to a 15-12 at the end of the first quarter. Nagle finished the quarter with eight points, three rebounds and two assists.
The Huskies responded in the second quarter, building a 24-18 lead before the Warriors went on an 8-0 run to take a two-point lead. St. Cloud State hit a jumper prior to the halftime buzzer, tying the score at 26 apiece.
Once again, St. Cloud State went ahead on a quick 7-0 run to start the third quarter to get the lead, but the Warriors answered with a 7-0 run of their own to tie it up again. With the combination of Nagle and junior center Kayla Timmerman, the Warriors built a five-point lead going into the final quarter of play.
With Nagle hitting her sixth three of the game midway through the fourth quarter, the Warriors would go on to win 62-51.
Winona State maintained control of the glass as they held a 47-35 rebounding advantage. Timmerman finished with 14 boards to go along with 16 points and two blocks.
“She has really taken the rebounding part of her game to another level,” assistant coach Ana Wurtz said. “Which is huge for us because that’s the one area that we were struggling with.”
Nagle finished with a game-high 20 points, five assists, three steals, while grabbing eight rebounds. Senior guard Alexis Foley added 14 points, four assists and five rebounds. Junior guard Tara Roelofs had 10 points while sophomore forward Hannah McGlone pulled down nine rebounds.
Ballard said he was proud of the team’s hustle on the defensive end.
“You can tell what kind of attitude a team has by the way they play defense.” Ballard said. “I’m proud of them for a lot of reasons, but I’m proud of how competitive they are when it comes to doing the dirty work – the defense, the rebounding. It’s hard to get people to buy into that because that’s not fun.”
The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs came to town Saturday, coached by former Saint Mary’s Head Coach Mandy Pearson.
Five seconds into the contest, Nagle continued to hit deep shots with a quick three, and then she drilled a second shortly after. But the Bulldogs answered with a 7-0 run to grab the lead 10-8 with 4:39 remaining in the opening quarter. Winona State regained the lead to have a slight
16-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
Nagle hit another three in the second quarter and the Warriors took a 29-25 lead into halftime.
Winona State turned up the defense in the third quarter, only giving up six points while the offense was able to score 17. They were able to build a 20-point lead with 5:30 remaining in the fourth to end with a 57-46 victory.
Once again, defense was pivotal as they held the Bulldogs to 24.6 percent shooting.
“[Duluth] scored 84 points [Friday]. We held them to 46 tonight,” Ballard said after the game. “The defense is saving us from the other team going on big runs and that’s important. Because of that, who knows what’s going to happen down the road. But we believe in our defense and each other.”
Connor Nagle has drilled 19 3-pointers in the last three contests. Coach Wurtz credits her work ethic for this recent success.
“When you get shooters as good as her, it just becomes a mental game. She puts in the reps every single day,” Wurtz said. “She’s always got the green light when someone works as hard as her, constantly in the gym getting up shots. I’ve seen the girl make 185 out of 200 threes on a day. So am I surprised when she goes out and has these games? No, not at all.”
Nagle understands the mental game behind being a shooter and credits her teammates for putting her in this position to be successful.
“I think before I would get into to the mental game and I would worry too much about my shot to where now if I get it and I’m open, its going up,” Nagle said. “You need a good pass and they are definitely getting me the ball where I need it.”
Timmerman was able to do a lot of the work Coach Ballard expects as she had back-to-back double-doubles to go along with eight total blocks. She understands the work she needs to do to help her teammates on the court and put the Warriors in a position to win.
“We have four other threats on the court,” Timmerman said. “It’s always fun to screen for Connor because she always knows how to hit everybody and we are able to read each other.”
Nagle said when her teammates around her are getting baskets it ultimately helps her game as well.
“It’s really a domino effect, if ‘Timm’ starts going off, then my person leaves me and she can get me the ball and I can go off,” Nagle said.
Nagle added she would continue to keep playing her style of basketball.
“I’m going to keep looking for my shot,” Nagle said. “I mean, I might have to start taking a little more twos, but we’ll cross that road when we get there”
Winona State (23-2 overall, 16-2 NSIC) cannot get lower than second in conference and with wins this weekend against Minnesota State University Mankato and Concordia-St. Paul, they can clinch just their second NSIC conference title in program history.