ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Concordia-St. Paul took a crucial conference game against No. 20 Minnesota State-Mankato by a score of 83-68. With the win, the Golden Bears pull even with the Mavericks in the NSIC South Division standings at 7-3 and a game behind Augustana (S.D.). CU has won three consecutive games against ranked opponents. Concordia moved to 9-5 overall while Mankato drops to 11-3.

The Golden Bears and the Mavericks traded buckets for the first few minutes with MSU-Mankato taking a 10-8 lead on an Ali Wilkinson layup with 16:42 left in the half. Concordia then ran out to a 12-point lead at 24-12 with 10:57 left thanks to a 16-2 run. The Mavericks responded with a 6-0 run of their own, cutting the lead to six. The Golden Bears stretched it back out to 36-23 on a flurry of baskets from Anika Whiting, capped off by a 3-pointer with 2:53 left in the first. Mankato brought it back to 36-28 going into the break.

Concordia forced nine turnovers with seven steals in the first half. Rachel Hansen had a big half with six points, five boards, five assists, three steals and a block. Whiting led the way in scoring for the Bears with 13 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting and 2 of 2 from the line. MSU leading scorer Ali Wilkinson paced the Mavs with seven points and Anna Leloux added 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. CU held the Mavs to 34.3 percent from the field, 10 percent below their season average, while shooting 38.9 percent.

The Bears came out firing in the second half and ran the score up to 47-31 with 16:54 left on a Whiting jumper. The Mavericks cut it back down to single digits at 51-43, but were unable to get the lead below 10. The lead ballooned to 68-48 after a pair of Carissa Wolyniec threes forced a MSU timeout. Concordia cruised to an 83-68 victory.

The Golden Bears shot 59.1 percent in the second half. Mankato was held to 38.2 percent and finished the game at 36.2 percent. Concordia outrebounded the Mavs 47-37 overall. CU also collected 21 assists on its 27 field goals and swiped the ball 13 times from MSU.

Anika Whiting had another huge game for Concordia, scoring 28 points on 11 of 17 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line while also chipping in six rebounds. Rachel Hansen barely missed a rare triple-double with a line of 10 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and four steals. Wolyniec also helped carry the offensive load by putting in 18 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-9 from beyond the arc. Kionda Nicks had her own personal block party, blocking six shots to go with her six points, five boards and two steals.

The Mavericks were led by Ali Wilkinson, who scored 23 points on 8-for-13 from the field and pulled down eight rebounds. Alli Hoeffer also had nine points, five rebounds and five assists for Mankato.