This time, the fourth quarter belonged to St. Cloud State.
Less than 24 hours after the University of Mary women’s basketball team played a picture-perfect final stanza to pick up a Northern Sun victory, things unraveled down the stretch for the Marauders.
The Huskies pulled away over the final 10 minutes to pick up a 65-56 victory over U-Mary on Sunday at the McDowell Activity Center. The Huskies swept the NSIC doubleheader as Duluth pulled away late to beat the Maurauder men 77-66 in the late game.
“Last night we executed and we shot the ball very well in the fourth quarter and today we had the opposite happen,” Marauders coach Rick Neumann said. “Then they got to the line – we bailed them out with some fouls late in the shot clock.
“A tale of two days, two fourth quarters. Today we looked like last year’s young, inexperienced team where we don’t know what to do in the last few minutes. Yesterday we did not.”
The Marauders cashed in on only 12 of 21 free-throw attempts, while the Huskies were 15-for-17.
A 7-3 run by St. Cloud State midway through the fourth turned a two-point lead into a 58-52 margin with 3:48 remaining, and the Huskies held on.
“That was a tough one – layups and free throws. Layups and free throws were the difference,” Neumann said. “Too many costly errors for us defensively. Eighteen turnovers – that’s just too many. Hopefully we can learn from this and be better the next time we’re in this situation.”
Andrea Thomas finished with 19 points and six rebounds to lead SCSU (7-4, 4-3 NSIC). Tori Wortz added 14 points and hit 5 of 6 from 3-point range.
“Any time we made a defensive mistake, they’d hit a 3," Neumann said. “You’ve got to give them credit – they made big shots and made big plays when they needed to and we did not.”
Cassie Askvig – who had 25 points and 18 rebounds in Saturday’s win over Minnesota-Duluth – had another big game. The sophomore from Minot finished with another double-double – 16 points and 12 rebounds. She also blocked three shots.
Gabbie Bohl led the Marauders with 21 points and grabbed six rebounds.
St. Cloud State rode some hot shooting to take the lead out of the gates.
The Huskies shot 50 percent – 8 for 16 – in the first quarter, opening with an Amanda Christianson 3-pointer, starting the game on a 16-5 run and building a 28-14 lead three minutes into the second quarter.
The Marauders (6-8, 2-6 NSIC), who struggled offensively at the onset, found a rhythm late in the second quarter and rallied to tie it at the intermission.
After shooting just 26.7 percent – 4 for 15 – in the first quarter, U-Mary went on a 14-0 run over the final 6:11 of the first half to tie the game.
“We were just trying to see if we could get into halftime under a single-digit deficit and to come all the way back, that was great,” Neumann said. “But a fourth quarter meltdown again today and we can’t have those if we want to be a good basketball team.”
Lauren Rotunda drove to the basket and tied it at 28-28 with seven seconds to go, and Askvig – who had 10 points and eight rebounds in the first half – swatted away a St. Cloud State 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
Macy Williams opened the second half with a 3-pointer, giving the Marauders their first lead of the game. U-Mary held a three-point lead on three occasions in a back-and-forth third before a Madelin Dammann 3-pointer with 34 seconds left in the period gave the Huskies a 44-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
SCSU 77, U-Mary 66
That first NSIC win continues to be elusive for the Marauder men.
In position to break through for a second straight night, U-Mary remained snakebit as St. Cloud State used a late 14-5 run to pull away for a 77-66 victory.
The run started when Jon Averkamp converted a layup to cap a possession kept alive on three occasions by a Duluth offensive rebound.
“A lot of it was offensive rebounding. There was a possession there where they had two or three offensive rebounds – we get three stops, and the fourth one always goes down, it seems like,” Marauders coach Joe Kittell said.
“We didn’t have as many possessions as them. We turned it over four more times, had a lot of turnovers especially in the first half when we could have made a run. And we just didn’t win the rebounding battle. That’s an Achilles’ heel of ours right now is the rebounding battle.”
Averkamp scored four points, Gage Davis four and Sean Smith three in the game-turning run, which stretched a two-point St. Cloud State lead to a 75-64 margin with 1:29 remaining.
“They’re a very good basketball team. We just have to figure it out. This adversity is lessons for these guys. They’re learning things,” Kittell said.
“We’re going to keep getting better keep working. This team isn’t going to quit. This doesn’t feel good today and it shouldn’t but were going to get better and get back to practice the next day.”
Averkamp led four St. Cloud State players in double figures with 23 points. Davis added 21 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies (9-4, 5-2 NSIC). Sean Smith had a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards and Andy Foley contributed 10 points.
“It’s just consistency and becoming a good defender is not easy and we showed a lot of signs this week, getting better at it,” Kittell said. “We guarded the 3 much better the last two nights, we guarded in general a lot better the last two nights, but we’ve got to continue.”
Matthew Kreklow led the Marauders (2-10, 0-8 NSIC) with 17 points and Keith Hunter added 12.
“We’ve just got to keep getting better, keep grinding it out, and it will get better,” Kittell said. “This is tough but we’re trying to build something here and I think we’ve got the right guys to do it, they just have to keep getting experience like being in tight games and learning how to win, not to lose.”
The Marauders return to conference play on the road next week, visiting Northern State on Friday and Minnesota State-Moorhead on Saturday.