Big first quarter propels women’s basketball to 81-45 win

Big first quarter propels women’s basketball to 81-45 win

ST. PAUL – The St. Thomas women's basketball team outscored UW-La Crosse 25-5 in the opening quarter to propel itself to an 81-45 win on Monday night at Schoenecker Arena. The Tommies shot 54.5-percent from the floor and held the Eagles to just 22.8-percent on the way to their eighth win of the year. They improve to 8-0, while UW-La Crosse drops to 5-3.

After each team scored in the opening minute to open the game 2-2, St. Thomas scored the next 13 straight points to open up a 15-2 lead and never looked back. The Tommies converted on three straight possessions, including two trips that resulted in three-pointers to open up the lead.

From there, the Purple went on to outscore the Eagles 10-3, which included two more threes to take the 25-5 lead after the opening 10 minutes. The Tommies shot a blistering 66.7-percent (10-15) from the field and made five threes for a 62.5-percent (5-8) from behind the line to take the early lead.

St. Thomas continued its hot shooting in the second quarter, shooting 58.3-percent (7-12) from the field and an even 50-percent (3-6) from downtown in the frame. The Tommies outscored the Eagles 19-12 in the last 10 minutes of the half to take a 44-17 lead to the break after leading by as many as 28 points (35-7) in the period.

The Tommie women went on to outscore UW-La Crosse 16-12 in the third quarter and 21-16 in the fourth to walk away with the 36-point victory.

St. Thomas finished the game shooting 54.5-percent (30-55) from the field and 46.2-percent from deep, tying a season high with 12 three-pointers (12-28). Monday marked the second straight game the Purple and Gray drained double-digit threes. On the flip side, La Crosse was held to just 22.8-percent (13-57) shooting on field goals and 25-percent (4-16) from three.

The rebounding battle went to the Tommies with a margin of 43-29, as did points in the paint (26-16). UW-La Crosse pulled out the turnover margin with 16 compared to 18 for St. Thomas.

St. Thomas' Gabby Zehrer led all scorers with 21 points on an impressive 8-of-11 shooting night, including a 4-for-6 mark from downtown. She also finished with four assists, while Kaitlin Langer recorded near-double-double numbers with 14 points and nine boards in just 19 minutes of action. Lauren Fischer was the final Tommie in double-figures with 11 points and six boards. Point guard Paige Gernes also added a game-high five assists and three steals.

Annie Schumacher came off the bench to lead the way for UW-La Crosse with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting. MaKenzie Miller pulled down a team-high six rebounds.

The Tommies will be back in action again on Friday night when they travel to Decorah, Iowa for a bout with Luther College. That game is set for a 7:00 pm tip.