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Freshman guard Borowicz helps lift Dragons to NSIC tournament victory

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Kiley Borowicz of Minnesota State Moorhead shoots over Lauren Hedlund of Southwest Minnesota State during their women's basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 7
Kourtney Selensky of Minnesota State Moorhead is fouled by Caleigh Rodning of Southwest Minnesota State during their women's basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor3 / 7
Megan Hintz, Center, of Minnesota State Moorhead is challenged by Caleigh Rodning, left, and Lauren Hedlund of Southwest Minnesota State during their women's basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor4 / 7
Drew Sannes of Minnesota State Moorhead shoots over Abuk Akoi of Southwest Minnesota State during their women's basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor5 / 7
Shannon Galegher of Minnesota State Moorhead performs a layup in front of Lauren Hedlund of Southwest Minnesota State during their women's basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor6 / 7
Kiley Borowicz, left, of Minnesota State Moorhead is fouled by Caleigh Rodning of Southwest Minnesota State during their women's basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor7 / 7

MOORHEAD—Minnesota State Moorhead true freshman Kiley Borowicz played like a veteran Wednesday night at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse.

The 5-foot-8 guard scored a game-high 21 points off the bench to help spark the Dragons to a 70-53 victory against Southwest Minnesota State in the first round of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference women's basketball tournament before 650 fans.

"I told her we needed her to be aggressive," said Dragons head coach Karla Nelson. "I thought she was a huge lift."

The Dragons (23-4) next play Sioux Falls at 8 p.m. Sunday in the NSIC quarterfinals at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Borowicz, who played in three Minnesota Class 2A state tournaments for Roseau (Minn.) High School, made a splash in her college postseason debut. She hit 8 of 11 field goals against the Mustangs and also grabbed six rebounds.

Borowicz said her high school postseason experience helped in her first NSIC tournament game.

"I'm used to playing in big games or trying to make big plays in games," Borowicz said. "I tried to do that tonight."

The Dragons rebounded from a 59-47 home loss against Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday to close out the regular season. That setback snapped a 16-game MSUM winning streak.

"I thought about the last loss and how we couldn't lose again," Borowicz said. "That was a bad day and we needed to come back and get a big win."

The Dragons started fast against the Mustangs. MSUM scored 12 consecutive points during one stretch in the first quarter to push its lead into double digits. Junior guard Jacky Volkert and Borowicz each scored five points during that rally. Borowicz capped the surge with a 3-pointer that gave the Dragons a 19-6 lead with 1 minute to play in the first quarter.

The Dragons shot 49 percent (16 of 33) from the field to take a 41-21 lead into halftime. Borowicz scored 10 points in the opening half, including two 3-pointers.

"We were kind of hitting on all cylinders there for a while," Nelson said.

The Mustangs rallied in the third quarter, scoring 11 consecutive points during one stretch. Southwest Minnesota State, however, couldn't get closer than within nine points of the lead over the final two quarters. Borowicz netted seven points in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.

"She just wants to play," Nelson said. "The great thing about Kiley is she's played at this time of year. I think it was her mentality of going in to be aggressive."

SMSU 8 21 41 53

MSUM 24 41 51 70

SMSU (5-21): Reinhart 2-5 0-1 4, Stelter 4-12 2-2 12, Rodning 5-14 5-5 17, Baxter 2-8 2-2 6, Akoi 2-3 0-0 4, Bonestroo 0-0 0-0 0, E. Buysse 1-3 0-0 3, Teske 0-0 0-0 0, S. Buysse 0-1 0-0 0, Hutton 1-2 0-0 2, Hedlund 2-8 1-2 5, Holicky 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-57 10-12 53.

MSUM (23-4): Thorson 1-7 2-2 5, Fech 2-3 0-0 4, Volkert 2-7 4-4 9, Sannes 4-11 0-2 9, Hintz 5-10 2-2 12, Selensky 1-4 3-4 6, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Borowicz 8-11 3-6 21, Galegher 2-4 0-0 4, Liegel 0-1 0-0 0, Green 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-59 14-20 70.

3-point goals: SMSU 5-21 (Reinhart 0-1, Stelter 2-5, Rodning 2-6, Baxter 0-2, Akoi 0-1, E. Buysse 1-3, S. Buysse 0-1, Hutton 0-1, Holicky 0-1), MSUM 6-25 (Thorson 1-7, Volkert 1-4, Sannes 1-3, Hintz 0-1, Selensky 1-3, Borowicz 2-5, Galegher 0-1, Liegel 0-1). Total fouls: SMSU 18, MSUM 14. Rebounds: SMSU 30 (Rodning 5), MSUM 46 (three players with 8). Assists: SMSU 5 (Stelter 2, Baxter 2), MSUM 14 (Volkert 8). Turnovers: SMSU 10 (Rodning 3), MSUM 9 (Borowicz 4). A--650.

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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