It went down to the wire on Saturday night, but the Northern State women sneaked past the University of Sioux Falls 60-59.
It was a tight game throughout, and the Cougars held a four-point advantage heading into halftime.
Coming out of the halftime break, Rogers would score the first eight of Northern's points as they outscored the Cougars by four, tying things up heading into the fourth quarter.
Throughout the fourth, the Wolves led for the majority, but Sioux Falls would answer with a layup by Krystal Carlson with under two minutes to play.
Northern used a 47-second jumper from Laurie Rogers and didn't give up the lead from there. Rogers had a game-high 20 points for the Wolves along with 10 rebounds, and six blocks.
Northern was led by Rianna Fillipi's 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Lexi Roe added 10 points for the Wolves, while Kailee Oliverson had eight.
Sioux Falls was led by Danielle Schaub off the bench with 11 points. The Cougars had nine players score in the game.
Northern State used a strong defensive effort against Southwest Minnesota State on Friday, downing the Mustangs 74-64.
Here are two takeaways from the game.
Northern's defense shines
Defensively, the Wolves were able to limit the Southwest Minnesota State's offense on Friday night, holding the Mustangs to three-for-25 shooting from three-point range, connecting on only 12% of their attempts.
“Part of their game plan is to be able to shoot the three so that they can go downhill so easily. You got to pick and choose and we just thought, you know, we’re going to contest the three-point line, but we’re going to try to make it a little bit of a block party inside,” NSU Head Coach Krueger said.
Northern allowed 32 points inside the paint and was led by Laurie Rogers with five blocks. Defensively, the Wolves committed 22 fouls, sending the Mustangs to the line 33 times, where the Mustangs struggled, connecting on 51.5% of their attempts.
“I didn’t want to put them on the line that many times, believe it or not, but sometimes you gotta have a little luck and when those things fall into place, you get a chance to be a pretty good team,” Krueger said.
Offense production across the board
All five starters for the Wolves had at least double-digit scoring efforts, led by Rianna Fillipi with 18 points.
Rogers had 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds for Northern, while Haley Johnson had 10 points. Lexi Roe had 11 points for Northern State and became the 35th member of program history to reach the 1,000 point mark. Roe also had 10 rebounds for the Wolves.
“It’s more than points, Lexi was my first recruit here and you want to talk about a kid that can take a punch and keep ticking, it’s Lex. If there’s anybody that I want to win for, it would be her,” Krueger said.
Kailee Oliverson returned to the starting lineup for the Wolves after being out due to illness. Oliverson had 15 points, six rebounds and two assists.
“There’s just something lighter about when (Oliverson) walks into the gym, just the energy that she brings about her. It just seems like people settle in a little bit easier, they don’t feel like they have to press as much,” Krueger said. “She just does some things with a basketball that other people can’t do.”
Northern was able to score 42 points inside the paint.
Up next, Northern State will host Upper Iowa on Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. On Jan. 22, the Wolves will take on Winona State at 4 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: Northern State womens basketball smsu nsic dII