Tommies trample Cardinals, retain MIAC lead

Guard Jenna Dockter and forward Anna Smith combined for 30 points in the St. Thomas women’s basketball team’s 65-44 win over St. Mary’s Wednesday at Schoenecker Arena.

The No. 4 Tommies (6-1, 4-0) handed the Cardinals (5-1, 3-1) their first loss of the season.

Coach Ruth Sinn said the team had a solid mentality all game.

“We just had a sense of purpose about us,” Sinn said. “Now, we’ve got to keep that purpose all the time.”

The Tommies brought intensity to the court in the first half when guard Jenna Dockter scored off a layup from Smith’s assist to tie the game 2-2. The team pressed the Cardinals in the first half, highlighted by guard Annessa Hicks’ defensive pressure and play. Hicks tallied three points and three rebounds against St. Mary’s.

St. Thomas maintained its aggressive play when Smith sank a 3-pointer, pulling her team to a 13-12 deficit. Guard Hannah Hughes sank a 3-pointer, putting the Tommies in front 19-15.

Heading into halftime, the Tommies trailed 30-29.

Smith said she thought the team controlled the game despite the Cardinals’ lead heading into the second half.

“In the first half, we definitely wore them out,” Smith said. “We definitely took them out of their game a little bit. They were making a lot of tough shots.”

Guard Kelly Brandenburg pulled the Tommies ahead when she sank a 3-pointer, extending her team’s lead to 40-35. Brandenburg’s 11 points guided St. Thomas’ strong second half. The Tommies used a 21-2 run to begin the second half.

Brandenburg said the team knew it needed to approach the rest of the game with a different perspective.

“If we played like we could, we knew we were going to be able to keep rolling in the second half,” Brandenburg said.

Sinn said the second half showcased the team’s strong execution on defense.

“We were getting to the rebounds. We were getting to the loose balls. We were just out-hustling them,” Sinn said.

Dockter played aggressive on a breakaway, driving to the hoop on a layup and put the Tommies ahead 58-38. Dockter went 5-for-7 from the field Wednesday.

St. Thomas hosts St. Olaf Tuesday, hoping to keep its top spot in the conference.

Sinn said the team will prepare as it does for any other game.

“We take it one day at a time,” Sinn said. “We always look at us first and what are the things we need to correct.”

Sean Crotty can be reached at