BY BRANDON ZIMMERMAN
The Raiders women’s basketball team traveled to Sioux City on Wednesday night to go up against the No. 9 Morningside Mustangs.
NW fell 90-79 despite 23 points from senior Samantha Kleinsasser. It was the first loss of the season for the No. 2 Raiders, who will surely drop in the national rankings as a result.
With seven minutes left in the first half, NW held its biggest lead of the game with a 15-point advantage,
Morningside answered in the next two minutes with a 10-0 scoring run that put it within five. Morningside continued to score and took the lead to end the half 42-38.
The Red Raiders started the second half by scoring five quick points in the first minute of play. The Mustangs, however, went on another scoring run that put them up
56-43 with 14 minutes left.
NW made its way back into the game with help from Kleinsasser’s 12 points in the last 14 minutes of play and evened the score at 79-79 with two minutes left in the game.
A free-throw and two consecutive lay-ups for Morningside in the final two minutes proved to be enough as the Mustangs went on to defeat the Raiders.
Kleinsasser’s 23 points were the game-high for the Raiders. Junior Karen Hutson poured in 14 point, and senior Mackenzie Small scored 13 and also pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double.
NW remains at the top of the GPAC standings with an overall record of 18-1 and a GPAC record of 10-1.
On Jan. 15, the women traveled to Sioux Center to take on Dordt. Following a very close first half, after which the Defenders led by just one point, NW picked up the scoring in the second half and finished the game.
NW came out after the break and scored the first four points of the second half. After regaining the lead, the Raiders never gave it back. Dordt pulled to within one, but NW answered with a 14-3 run of their own. This scoring push, ignited by Kleinsasser with eight of those 14 points, gave NW its biggest lead of the game at 53-41 with 14 minutes to go.
Dordt made a late run in the second half with five minutes to go and diminished NW’s lead to just seven, 64-57. Senior Alli Engebretson poured in seven straight points to give the visitors a 12-point lead.
Although NW shot just 3 of 17 from beyond the arc during the game, the women shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and a combined 42 percent for the game.
Engebretson scored a game-high 25 points and secured 11 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season. Hutson also had herself a strong scoring night as she sank 22 points for the Raiders.
NW had 15 steals compared to Dordt’s five.
The Red Raiders will play a GPAC game at 2 p.m. this Saturday in the Bultman Center.
All attendees are encouraged to wear pink to the game for breast cancer awareness activities. The most clever costumes will receieve prizes from the concession stand.