Knights' Historic Season Ends at St. Thomas
ST. PAUL – The MLC women’s basketball team saw its dream season end in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament with a 71-58 loss at St. Thomas Friday night.
The Knights got off to a nightmare start offensively, falling behind 8-0 and finally making their first field goal of the game more than seven minutes into the game on an Alex Anthon lay-up, but hung around because of its defense.
Anthon provided a big lift early, scoring seven of the first 11 points for the Knights and allowing them to stay in the game until her teammates started to get things going. Brittney Gossen and Hannah Hackbarth also scored seven apiece in the first half, keeping the MLC deficit at two heading into the half at 30-28.
The second half started with a flurry, as Erica Babinec took over after failing to make a field goal in the first half on seven tries. Babinec made two free throws, cashed in a three-point play, and then drained two from beyond the arc for 11 points in under five minutes to start the half and give MLC a 42-38 lead.
The Tommies fought back with a fierce full court defense that forced the Knights into mistakes, and also took advantage of their size on the offensive glass with a 13-0 run to overcome a 45-43 MLC lead and take a 56-45 lead before an Alex Anthon free throw stopped the MLC offensive drought.
The Knights tried to pressure full court to get back in the game, but the Tommies showed good discipline, breaking the press for lay-ups at the other end. When the Tommies did miss, their size on the glass created too many second-chance points for the Knights to make a run down the stretch. For the game, St. Thomas outrebounded MLC 51-35, including a 15-8 edge on the offensive glass.
Babinec scored 19 of her 23 points in the second half to lead MLC, while Anthon joined her in double figures with ten points, and also finished with a team-best four assists.
With the loss, MLC finished its school record-breaking season 20-8, while St. Thomas improved to 27-1 and advanced to round two of the tournament.