The University of Mary women’s basketball team opened up Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play with a 64-58 victory over in-state rival Minot State Saturday afternoon. The win pushed the Marauders winning streak to two games as MSU (5-2) lost its second game of the year.
3-point threat: UMary sophomore Coral Gillette is a type of player that Rick Neumann’s squad wishes they had in the previous seasons. Yes, the Marauders have had 3-point shooters such as Dani Williams, Brittney Dietz, Haley Hibbs, Dani Clarke, McKenzie Foster and Kayla Schmidt to name a few but Gillette is different. The Division-I transfer has that killer instinct on the hardwood. Fifteen of her team-high 18 points came in the second half against the Beavers. After Gillette missed her first three long range shots of the afternoon, she connected on her final five and finished 5 of 8 from 3-point land as UMary shot 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Bismarck, N.D., native is averaging 8.3 3-pointers per game and is on pace for close to 207 for the season. The last player to finish a season with 200-plus attempted 3-pointers was Schmidt in 2011-12 when she shot 232. Eighty-seven percent of Gillette’s field goals are coming from 3-point land and she was a huge factor in the fourth quarter against Minot State when UMary scored 18 points.
Lexie Schneider came to play: UMary freshman forward Lexie Schneider scored a career-high nine points against the Beavers and is going to be an important player in the Marauders future plans. Schneider came to play against MSU although she does have some things to work on like shooting from deep, the Hilbert, Wis., native had super efficient in 18 minutes of play. Schneider was challenging MSU defenders and beat them off the dribble a few times throughout the game. She also added nine rebounds as UMary won the rebounding battle, 40-39.
Defense on point: I really think UMary’s defense is underrated. The Marauders are sixth in the NSIC in scoring defense and have played at least one less game than every other team in the Top 5 besides Minnesota Duluth. UMary held the Beavers to 35.9 percent from the field and just 23.1 percent from the 3-point line. MSU and leading scorer Kari Clements made plenty of runs to strike back in the game, however, it was UMary’s defense that shut those runs down.