Sophomore Kirsti Degelia poured in a game-high 17 points and pulled in nine rebounds to lead a dogged Midwestern State effort in a 67-56 exhibition win over NCAA Division I UTA Tuesday night at Texas Hall in Arlington.
"These young ladies played so hard and we were so ready to play someone else," MSU coach Noel Johnson said. "We knew we were going to see some pressure, athleticism and big time rebounding, so we wanted to rebound, limit turnovers and relax. We followed that game plan exactly."
The Mustangs got off to a quick start pushing out to a 7-1 lead on freshman Shatoia Gober's jumper in the paint with 14:39 to play in the first half as the Movin' Mavs didn't score a field goal until Malaika Green hit a jumper over 5:30 minutes into the contest.
It was a lead Midwestern would never surrender hustling soon-to-be Western Athletic Conference UTA into 21 turnovers and out-rebounding the taller Mavs by a 42-39 margin.
"We consistently blocked out, but did have some problems with keeping them off the glass on second shots," Johnson said. "But to limit them to 40 rebounds, I'm pleased with that."
Senior forward Jazman Patterson led the effort on the glass with 10 rebounds to go along with five points and three steals, while freshman forward Andrea Carter added five points and six rebounds in 18 minutes off of the bench.
The Mustangs pushed the lead to a 7-point bulge at 14-7 when Carter hit the second of two free throws created by a steal in the back court with 10:01 to go in the opening half.
UTA chipped away with a 7-1 run to knot the game at 24-24 on Chauntandra Williams' jumper 1:31 before halftime, but Carter and sophomore Skyler Warrick each converted a pair of free throws in the final minute of the opening stanza to give MSU a 28-24 edge at the intermission.
The Mavs pulled within a point on three occasions in the early stages of the second, but the Mustangs answered with a 7-1 run fueled by a Karissa Lang 3-pointer, a layup by Patterson and a pair charity tosses by Carter push the lead to 39-31 with 12:42 to play.
UTA crept back to within 49-46 on a Sabreena Denure's jumper with 5:03 to play before Degelia put the game away for MSU.
The Krum native hit a pair free throws, buried a 3-ball and put back her own miss of a trey from the corner as part of a personal 7-0 run to push the lead to 56-47 with 3 minutes to play.
The outburst accounted for two of her three field goals for the game, but Degelia made her impact at the charity stripe where she hit 10-of-11 tosses. She also added four steals in 34 minutes.
"She hit a 3 at the right time and that's the closer you want," Johnson said. "Kirsti had her day on the free throw line. She picked and choose when she wanted to drive. I tell her to never turn down a shot."
Senior guard Savannah Carver chipped in 10 of her 13 points in the second half including an 8-for-10 performance from the charity stripe, while senior Cierra Thompson added 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting.
Denure paced UTA with 11 points, while Bianca Sauls had six points and 13 rebounds.
Midwestern State opens the regular season Saturday night against Texas A&M International at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
Game times for Midwestern State's NCAA Division II Soccer Championship openers were announced Tuesday afternoon.
The men's soccer team will face Incarnate Word Thursday night at Benson Stadium in San Antonio. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available online at www.uiwcardinaltickets.com at the cost of $4 for adults, $2 for students and senior citizens and $1 for children ages 3-12.
The winner advances to face the victor of the Central Region final between Fort Lewis (Colo.) and Metro State (Colo.) Sunday afternoon at a site and time to be determined.
The women's soccer team will play St. Edward's Friday afternoon at the Wildcat Soccer Pitch in Abilene, Texas. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
Tickets are available online at www.acusports.com or by calling 325-674-2287 at the cost of $10 for a single-day adult pass while youth passes (18 and younger) are set at $5.
The winner plays host Abilene Christian Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Midwestern State maintained its No. 4 ranking in the latest National Soccer Coaches' Association of America Division II Poll released Tuesday afternoon.
The Mustangs extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches by claiming results over Eastern New Mexico and West Texas A&M last weekend at the MSU Soccer Field.
MSU (13-3-1) earned a bid into the NCAA Division II Championship field for the sixth consecutive year and will face rival Incarnate Word in the opening round Thursday night in San Antonio. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Midwestern is one of 11 teams from the tough Super Region 4 receiving mention in the poll joining No. 1 Simon Fraser (B.C.), No. 3 Fort Lewis (Colo.), No. 9 Incarnate Word, No. 13 Seattle Pacific (Wash.), No. 17 Cal State-Los Angeles, No. 18 Texas A&M International, No. 19 Metro State (Colo.) and No. 23 Regis (Colo.) while Colorado Mines and Chico State (Calif.) are receiving votes.
The winner of Thursday's clash between MSU and UIW faces the winner of the Central Region contest between Fort Lewis and Metro State Sunday at a site and time to be determined.
Sunday's victor faces the winner of the West Region tournament in the national quarterfinals for the right to advance to the Final Four set for Dec. 1-3 in Pensacola, Fla.
The Mustangs have carried a national ranking for each of the last 65 periods in which it was eligible to receive mention dating back to the 2006 season.
Midwestern State is receiving votes in the latest National Soccer Coaches' Association of American Top 25 Poll released Tuesday afternoon.
The Mustangs claimed their third Lone Star Conference championship and first since 1998 sweeping to come-from-behind wins over West Texas A&M and then-No. 2 Abilene Christian last weekend.
The title propelled Midwestern to its second NCAA Division II postseason berth as the Mustangs have won eight of their last 10 matches to move to 13-5-2.
MSU received mention in two polls this season reaching as high as No. 22 on Sep. 13.
The Mustangs are one of four South Central Region sides receiving mention in the poll joining No. 4 Central Missouri, No. 14 Central Oklahoma and No. 17 Abilene Christian.
Midwestern opens NCAA II postseason play Friday afternoon against St. Edward's (Texas) at the Wildcat Soccer Pitch in Abilene. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
The winner advances for a second-round matchup against host Abilene Christian Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.