Mar 15, 2024

MWSU WBB gets off to tough starts, falls in NCAA tournament to Minnesota State

Posted Mar 15, 2024 10:54 PM
Alyssa Bonilla led the Griffons with 15 points in a 78-58 loss to Minnesota State on Friday. Stock photo.
Alyssa Bonilla led the Griffons with 15 points in a 78-58 loss to Minnesota State on Friday. Stock photo.


St. Joseph Post

BETHANY, OK - Missouri Western started by missing 11 of its first 13 shot attempts. They also turned the ball over 12 times in the first 10 minutes.

Minnesota State (27-5) pounced, going up 28-6 early and essentially cruising to a 78-58 win over the Griffons on Friday at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Oklahoma.

Missouri Western (25-6) showed signs of life, getting back to within 35-20 midway through the second, but the Mavericks still led 43-25 at the break.

Both teams traded baskets for the first half of the third quarter, but the lethal blow was a 7-0 run by the Mavericks in the final 2:37 of the third. Minnesota State was up 63-37 by the start of the fourth quarter.

Both teams committed 25 turnovers, but Minnesota State scored 29 points off of giveaways. Missouri Western scored only four.

The Griffons also never got going from three, finishing 2-of-22 from deep. Minnesota State was 7-20 from long range.

Destinee Bursch led three Mavericks in double figures with 19 points. Natalie Bremer had 18. Joey Batt had 13. All three of those players are first-team all-NSIC Conference selections.

Minnesota State, despite winning 25 of their last 26 games and winning the NSIC regular season and conference tournament championship, somehow drew only the No. 7 seed.

Junior Alyssa Bonilla got her first start since January 20 and led the Griffons with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Brionna Budgets, in her final Missouri Western game, scored 12 points, but went 0-of-8 from three.

Connie Clarke, also playing in her final game as a Griffon, had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Clarke ends her Griffon career with 1,239 points and 788 career rebounds in three years.

Budgets, who made her 100th career start Friday, ends with 1,449 points and 204 career three-pointers.

Western was held to 34.4% shooting overall. The Griffons got outrebounded 42-33, including 18-12 on the offensive glass.

Minnesota State advances to regional semifinals to face Fort Hays State on Saturday at 5 p.m. Hays beat Northwest Missouri State Friday, 62-47. The Bearcats end their season at 23-8.

Missouri Western, who's went 'one-and-done' in the NCAA tournament for the seventh times since 1998, ends a strong season with its most wins since 2015-16, its first MIAA regular season title since 2016, the second most conference wins in program history and its third consecutive season of 24 or more wins.

The Griffons say goodbye to six seniors in Budgets, Clarke, Johnni Gonzalez, Camille Evans, Mary Fultz and Jordan Cunningham. All six seniors played and scored in their final game Friday.

Full audio broadcast

Emily Wacker postgame

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