Bench provides spark in women’s basketball win

Bench provides spark in women’s basketball win

ST. PAUL – The St. Thomas women's basketball team defeated UW-Stevens Point by the score of 76-65 in its 2016-17 home opener on Sunday afternoon at Schoenecker Arena.  The Tommies got a boost from their bench, who outscored the Pointer reserves 29-18 on the day.

With the win, St. Thomas improves to 3-0 overall, as UW-Stevens Point drops its first game of the year and falls to 4-1.

St. Thomas jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and would not trail the remainder of the way, leading for nearly the entire contest.  After the Pointers cut the lead back to one point (11-10) with four minutes remaining in the quarter, the Tommies finished the opening frame on an 11-4 run, led by junior Lauren Fischer who scored six of the 11 St. Thomas points, and took a 22-14 advantage to the second.

 St. Thomas kept rolling in the second quarter, using a 17-7 run to open up its largest lead of the night, a 16-point spread (39-23) with under two minutes to play in the half.  Sophomore Hannah Spaulding came off the bench to spark the swing, scoring 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting to extend her team's lead.

But the Pointers responded, scoring the last six points of the half to bring the difference to 10 points (39-29) at the break. 

UW-Stevens Point continued to storm back early in the third.  The Pointers opened the second half with a 9-3 spurt to close the gap to four points (42-38) halfway through the third quarter.  Four different players scored during the run, as the momentum swung in favor of Stevens Point.

The two teams exchanged blows for the remainder of the third quarter, as the lead climbed to as many as seven points before the Pointers cut the lead to three points (53-50) thanks to a layup by Taylor Douglas in the final seconds of the frame.   

The three-point difference was the smallest since the first quarter as the two teams entered the final period, but the one-possession lead did not last long, as the Tommies came out to score the first seven points of the frame to extend the lead back to double digits (60-50).

UW-Stevens Point climbed to within six points midway through the quarter, but St. Thomas nailed 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute of play to seal the 11-point victory.

For the game, the Tommies held the advantage in field goal percentage (44.4%), three-point field goal percentage (32.3%), and free throw percentage (91.7%), while the pointers won the rebound battle (36-28) and held the slight edge in second chance points (16-15).

The big difference came from the Tommie bench, which outscored the Pointer reserves 29-18, thanks to a career-high 20 points from Hannah Spaulding.  The sophomore finished 8-for-11 from the field and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line in 21 minutes played.  She finished behind only Lauren Fischer in the scoring category, who led all scorers with 21 points.  Fischer went 5-for-9 from the field, including three three-pointers and was 8-for-8 from the charity stripe to go along with five rebounds. 

Senior Kaitlin Langer followed with 10 points in just 19 minutes and Lucia Renikoff added 10 points and five assists.

Autumn Hennes led the Pointers with 20 points and seven rebounds.  She finished 7-of-8 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line in a near double-double performance.  She was joined in double figures by Taylor Douglas with 13 points and Lauren Anklam, who added 11.

St. Thomas will be back in action on Wednesday night when it travels down Grand Ave. to take on Macalester at 7:00 pm.