#1 seed Wayne State scored the final six points of the game to escape with a 78-74 win over Minnesota State Friday evening in the first round of the NCAA Division II Central Regional Women’s Basketball Tournament held at Rice Auditorium on the campus of Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. WSC won its 44th straight game at Rice Auditorium and improved to 30-2 on the season with the win while Minnesota State finishes the season at 18-11.
Wayne State owned three wins in the regular season over the Mavericks by a combined 69 points, but Minnesota State used torrid three point shooting in the second half (9 of 15) to rally from an 18 point deficit midway through the second half and took a two point lead at 74-72 before WSC scored the final six points of the game for the dramatic 78-74 win.
WSC senior All-American forward Ashley Arlen led the Wildcats in scoring with 25 points, including a perfect 10 for 10 free throw shooting. Freshman reserve guard Ashton Yossi added 19 points off the bench while Ellen Hansen and Ali Schwartzwald also reached double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Wildcats made 23 of 53 shots from the field for 43.4 percent, including 9 of 20 from the three point line. WSC was 23 of 26 at the charity stripe (88.5 percent).
WSC held a slim 36-32 edge in rebounding over the Mavericks as Hansen, Arlen and Eva Benson each hauled in eight rebounds for the Wildcats while Bresnahan had a game-high 11 rebounds for Minnesota State. Aubrey Davis and Alli Hoefer each were credited with seven assists for Minnesota State with Alisha Brown and Ali Schwartzwald handing out four apiece for the Wildcats.
WSC will now play in the semi-finals on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. against #4 seed Augustana.