ST. PAUL - Three days after recording a huge win over previously unbeaten Gustavus on the road, the St. Thomas women's basketball team needed to come from behind to tough out a 62-53 win over St. Catherine on Saturday afternoon at Schoenecker Arena.
The Tommies trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, but came back to outscore the Wildcats in each of the next three periods to secure the win, which is their 20th straight on the year and 14th in the MIAC. St. Kate's drops to 13-8 overall and 7-7 in league play with the loss.
After the Wildcats led by seven points (14-7) heading to the second quarter, the Tommies went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 16 all. But St. Kate's answered with seven straight points to build its lead once again midway through the second.
It took an 11-4 run for St. Thomas to tie the score once again (27-27) heading to halftime.
The Tommies took their first lead of the game 12 seconds into the second half when senior Paige Gernes connected on a free throw to give her squad a one-point lead (28-27). But it was shortlived, as the Wildcats came right back to score two possessions later and take a 29-28 lead.
The two teams traded baskets until the Tommies went on a short 7-3 burst that gave them a four-point lead (44-40) late in the third.
St. Kate's came out to score the opening four points of the fourth quarter and take a one-point lead (45-44). Senior post Kaitlin Langer responded with a layup plus the foul with six minutes remaining in regulation to give the Tommies a two-point lead (47-45).
The Wildcats then scored to tie the game, but a 7-0 run gave the Tommies a 54-47 lead with 2:18 to go and they would not look back, as they continued the run to end the game on a 15-6 spurt to secure the victory.
Both teams shot less than 40-percent on the afternoon. St. Thomas won the rebound battle (43-30) and had 14 offensive rebounds that led to 14 second chance points, compared to just two for the Wildcats.
Audra Clark led the Wildcats in scoring with 13 points and dished out five assists, while Lashay Holt pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
The No.-3 ranked Tommies (20-0 overall, 14-0 MIAC) stayed one game ahead of Gustavus in the 18-game conference race, and will put their unbeaten record to the test once again tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Decorah, Iowa for a showdown with Luther College. Sunday's game is the final non-conference contest of the season and will tip at 2:30 pm.