By James Bartolo
Top seeded ThunderWolf women’s basketball defeated the South Dakota Mines Hardrockers in the first round of the RMAC Shootout, 60-50 last night.
The Hardrockers drained nine 3-pointers in a game with eight lead changes. Consistent 3-point shooting by the Hardrockers in a tight game led ThunderWolf fans throughout Massari Arena to chant “No threes,” as the ThunderWolves tightened their perimeter defense.
“We knew we had to have our hands up, feet past the line, because if they have their feet set they are going to pull it,” ThunderWolf senior Tuileisu Anderson said. “We had to make sure to deny the wings and just keep the pressure on them.”
Anderson played aggressive defense, grabbing five defensive rebounds and a steal, but said she had to “help in other ways” after picking up her fourth foul late in the third quarter.
“When I get tired, I start to reach and pick up those little fouls, so I just made sure to stay in the game,” Anderson said.
Despite 37.5 percent 3-point shooting from the Hardrockers, Anderson was the most successful long range shooter on the court. Anderson scored 15 points from beyond the arc. Anderson’s 24 total points helped her climb to second on the ThunderWolves all-time scoring list.
Anderson said she would not be second without her teammates. “It’s really a blessing to be second all time,” Anderson said. “I was really thankful for the team and my coach giving me a chance,”
The ThunderWolves totaled 11 assists with four of them coming from guard Katie Cunningham. Cunningham, forward Lauren Heyn and center Molly Rohrer combined for 27 boards, helping the ThunderWolves out-rebound the Hardrockers, 45-35.
The ThunderWolves play their second round game Friday night at 7:00 against Regis. Last year, Regis eliminated the ThunderWolves from the RMAC Shootout.
“All we are going to do is prepare for the first four minutes of that game as coach says, we are going to stay defensive minded,” Anderson said.