Trojans to Take on Comets in North Star Athletic Association Postseason Championship Game Rematch: Game Preview – #9 Dakota State vs #12 Mayville State

in the NSAAThe #9 ranked Trojan Women’s Basketball team (25-5 overall, 11-1 NSAA) made the trek on up to North Dakota for a North Star Athletic Association Championship game rematch with the #12 ranked Mayville State Comets.

Mayville State

The Comets (23-3 overall, 11-1 NSAA) is a strong team from top to bottom, but two of their three losses this season have come from the Trojans. Though this team is stout at home and fended off DSU well in the last meeting. The Trojans came to town on Feb. 9 and took their second worst loss of the season to the Comets.

Mayville State is an impressive 11-0 at home this season. Including a 17-game home winning streak dating back to last season. They’re making their second straight appearance in the NSAA Championship game. Last year they got past the Trojans 66-52 to halt DSU’s attempt at a three-peat as conference champions. Dakota State very much so with revenge on the brain not just from last year, from less than a month ago.

This group is led by Jordan Zrust, who was recently named Player-of-the-Year in the NSAA for a second straight season. As well as first team all-conference and all-defense. She leads them in scoring with 21 points per game and in rebounding with 8.8 a game. Zrust is one of three Comets who average double figures. Along with Mackenzie Hughes, who was also named first team all-conference, with 15.6 points per game. As well as Jes Mertens, who was recently named all-conference second team, with 10.1 a game.

This high powered team forced DSU into a season-high 31 turnovers, as well as other season-worst marks. It was an uncharacteristic night for the Trojans and they could never truly find their footing. Dakota State allowed the second quarter to blow open due to a high turnover quarter that the Comets took advantage of. Mayville State has a solid and rowdy home crowd. It’s up to this group to ignore the noise and play their game. When they do, it’s trouble for any team they play.

Dakota State

The Trojans come into this game hoping to regain their place atop the conference and cement themselves as dominant forces in the conference. Looking to grab their third conference title in four years. This group has had some of its best practices as of late and look locked in and ready to go. They have looked really well since they last saw the Comets. They have taken some frustrations out on the opposing teams with no game being within 20 points.

Dakota State had various Trojans selected for conference awards for the season. Savannah Walsdorf and Tabor Teel were named first team all-conference, Angela Slattery and Caitlin Dyer were both selected Honorable Mention. David Moe was selected as the Coach-of-the-Year for the fifth straight season and Teel was chosen as the Defensive-Player-of-the-Year in the NSAA.

Inside the Numbers

This Trojan offense is ranking amongst some of the best Trojan teams of years past. Their 80.7 points per game scoring average sits fourth in school history. Along with boasting a stout defense, only allowing opponents 60.7 points a game. Teams shoot under 40% from the field (38.6%) and from beyond the arc (30.4%) against the Trojans.

They’re also forcing teams into 20.5 turnovers a game. Which is exactly the Comets average against the Trojans in their last two meetings. Comets average 17 turnovers a game against the Trojans through all three games this season and DSU holds a 2-1 advantage in their three meetings. Dakota State has won 12 of the last 14 meetings against the Trojans, both losses of which the Trojans seek revenge for in this matchup.

Leading in scoring for the Trojans is Walsdorf with 16.8 points per game. She also leads in  assists (2.2), 3-pt percentage (42.7%) and steals (3.1) which ranks 9th in the NAIA. She is the only Trojan averaging double figure going into this game.

DSU is also close to some players moving up and entering the school record book. Walsdorf is one steal away from being the first Trojan to hit 400 steals in a career, four threes made away from 200 (staying in 5th all-time), four free throws made from 2nd all-time, seven steals away from 3rd most in a single season and two field goals made (currently at 196) from third all-time in a single season. Teel is four blocks away from tying for 9th/10th all-time in single season blocks. Along with Slattery being three 3-pointers (60 currently) made away from joining Walsdorf (T-9th with 64) in the single season 3PM list.

Tipoff is set for 1pm in the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse with pregame at 12:45pm on Jammin Country 103.

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