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    USF Women's Basketball: Cougars Struggle Offensively in 79-52 Loss

    MANKATO, MINN. (February 8, 2014) – The University of Sioux Falls women’s basketball team was within one point of No. 23 Minnesota State with eight minutes left in the first half, but the Mavericks used a 14-5 run late in the first period to claim a 79-52 victory over the Cougars at the Taylor Center on Saturday afternoon. 

    The Cougars fell to 12-10 overall and 8-10 in the conference while the Mavericks improved to 17-5 overall and 14-4 in the NSIC this season. 

    Taylor Varsho, who led the Cougars with 12 points, kept the Cougars in the game early as she scored the first four points for USF. Sam Knecht added a pair of field goals near the midway point of the first period, as the Cougars cut the Mavericks lead down to one-point. The freshmen forward finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks. 

    Karlee Gengenbacher, who pumped in 14 first half points on 5-of-9 shooting, fueled Minnesota State early in the game as she scored eight of the Mavericks first ten points. She ended the game with 21 points and seven rebounds. 

    For the second night in-a-row, the Cougars struggled finding their rhythm offensively as they shot 27.0% from the field on 17-of-63 shooting. It was the same story for USF from behind the arc as they went just 6-of-21 from downtown. 

    The Mavericks were able to get easy shots in the game as they outscored the Cougars in the paint 30-14. Minnesota State also used a strong 33-point performance from their bench to take down the Cougars while USF’s bench only contributed 11 points to their final score. 

    USF had trouble taking care of the rock in the first half as they turned the ball over fifteen times compared to MSU’s seven first half turnovers. 

    After heading into the locker room at halftime trailing by thirteen points, the Cougars opened up the second half with a 12-6 run which was capped off when Laura Johnson made a pass to Taylor Varsho who drilled a shot from 3-point land. Johnson, a Cedar Falls, Iowa native, ended the game with nine points, twelve rebounds and two assists. 

    USF also had problems from the charity stripe as they were only able to convert 10 of their 22 free throw attempts (.455). 

    USF will continue their road trip next weekend when they travel to North Dakota to take on Minot State and the University of Mary. Tip-off between the Cougars and Beavers is set for 6 p.m. on Friday night while USF’s matchup with U-Mary will take place the following day at 4 p.m.

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