The M State lady Spartans led 22-10 after one quarter and 37-26 at the half on Saturday in Grand Rapids, however, the Itasca lady Vikings fought back to make it interesting in the second half, cutting the Spartans lead to 50-44. M State held on for a 70-67 victory, improving their season record to 4-5 on the season.
M State made 21-of-26 (80.8%) free throws on the day, led by Sydney Hovland who went 9-for-10 on the line and finished with 17 points. All five starters were in double digits. Hovland was followed by Kassandra Algarate with 14, Olivia Winfrey with 13, Alexa Mortenson with 12 and Taylin Schleicher with 12. Winfrey had a team high 4 assists and Mortenson came up with 3 steals and 7 rebounds. Algarate also grabbed 7 boards. The lady Spartans made 41.4% (24-58) of their shots from the floor and lost the battle of the boards, 35-27.
Itasca struggled with their shooting, making only 34% (17-50) of their field goal attempts. They were able to stay close because of 42% (8-19) shooting from beyond the arc and the fact that they made 25-of-36 free throws. Leaders for the Vikings were Averi Holthusen (28 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals), Emily Franz (11 points, 6 rebounds), Kristine Johnson (11 points, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Maya Schroeder (6 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals).
The Lady Spartans are off until Friday, December 21 when they play Central Lakes Community College in Brainerd.