MANKATO — A month ago, the Minnesota State women's basketball team was 7-1, having won seven straight, when it went on the road for games at Augustana and Wayne State.
The Mavericks returned from that trip with two losses. They get a chance at revenge this weekend at home.
"We'll definitely have a little chip on our shoulder," Mavericks coach Emilee Thiesse said. "We split last weekend so that will also be motivation, but we'll remember that we went 0-2 on that (Augustana-Wayne State) road trip."
The Mavericks (10-4, 7-3 in Northern Sun) hosts Augustana (10-4, 6-4) at 6 p.m. today and Wayne State (16-1, 9-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday. Last month, Wayne State won 79-64 and Augustana won 86-82.
Against Wayne State, the Mavericks shot only 35.0 percent against the zone and allowed 38 points in the paint.
"We got all the shots that we wanted, but we just gave up too many points inside," Thiesse said. "Their size killed us. We're going to need to improve defensively."
The Augustana game was played at a faster pace, and the Mavericks shot 48.4 percent. However, Augustana made 21 more free throws and outscored the Mavericks by 10 in the second half to pull out the victory.
"Our transition offense has been touch and go lately, but Augustana's transition game is very good," Thiesse said."They want to play at a pace similar to ours."
Free throws have been a problem for the Mavericks, who have been called for 45 more fouls than opponents. That's led to a 53-point deficit at the free-throw line. In Friday's 16-point loss at Northern State, the Wolves outscored Minnesota State by 30 at the line.
Junior point guard Zach Monaghan leads Division II with 128 assists, averaging 7.5 per game. He leads the Northern Sun by almost 3 assists per game.
"He's done an incredible job, especially since we came back from the break," Minnesota State coach Matt Margenthaler said. "He's been more of a leader. He's able to forget about the mistakes and control what he can control."