Big first quarter leads women’s hoops to win

Big first quarter leads women’s hoops to win

WINONA, Minn. – The St. Thomas women's basketball team used a 22-7 advantage after the first quarter to propel itself on to a 77-66 win over Saint Mary's University on Wednesday night at Saint Mary's Gym. 

With the win, the Tommies remain unbeaten with an overall record of 24-0 on the year and 17-0 in the MIAC, while the Cardinals drop to 13-11 overall and 7-10 in league play.  St. Thomas will look to close the regular season undefeated on Saturday afternoon when it travels to Moorhead, Minn., to take on Concordia.

After the Cardinals opened the game with a 4-2 lead barely over a minute in, the Tommies rattled off 16 straight points to take an 18-4 advantage and would never look back.  Senior Kaitlin Langer sparked the run, scoring eight of the first 10 points in the spurt. 

Alexa Huisman stopped the bleeding momentarily with a three-pointer, but St. Thomas came back to score the final five points of the quarter to close the opening frame on a 20-3 run and taking a 22-7 edge to the second quarter.

The Tommie women continued their hot start, opening the second frame on a 13-2 run that saw them out to their largest lead of the night (35-9).  Six different players scored in the run for the Purple, which took a 22-point (41-19) lead to the half.

Halftime cooled the Tommies' firepower slightly, as they outscored Saint Mary's 23-20 in the third quarter before the Cardinals engineered a slight comeback in the fourth. 

Trailing 70-46 with 6:43 remaining, Brittney Flom scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead under 20 for the first time in the final frame.  The Tommies pushed the lead back to 22 with a jumper from Maddie Wolkow with 4:01 remaining, but the Cardinals scored nine straight points to cut the lead to 13 points (75-62) with a minute and a half left.  But time ran out for Saint Mary's.  A jumper in the final seconds cut the final score to an 11-point difference with the final score of 77-66.

St. Thomas outrebounded the Cardinals 42-31 and scored 20 points off of 17 Saint Mary's turnovers.  The Tommies shot 40.9-percent (27-66) from the field compared to 46.4-percent (26-56) for the Cardinals, but St. Thomas flexed its rebounding edge, scoring 17 second-chance points to just six for Saint Mary's.

Langer led the way with her ninth double-double of the year.  Her 19-point, 10-board performance also served as the 25th double-double of her collegiate career.  She was efficient from the free throw line, going 9-for-10, and pulled down five offensive rebounds. 

Three more Tommies scored in double figures.  Seniors Paige Gernes and Gabby Zehrer, along with freshman Sarah Krynski each scored 10 points.  Gernes was an efficient 3-for-4 from the floor, while Krynski went 4-for-5.  Each player sank two treys.

Emma Schaefer led the Cardinals with 17 points, while Brandi Blattner finished with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.  Sam Jones also scored in double figures with 10 points.

St. Thomas will hit the road on Saturday when it travels to Moorhead, Minn., to take on Concordia College.  The Tommies will look to cap off its second undefeated regular season in the last three years when that game tips at 1:00 pm.