The St. Thomas women’s basketball team kept rolling Monday night with a decisive 68-50 win over the injury-riddled Hamline Pipers at Concordia University’s Gangelhoff Center.
The victory was St. Thomas’ seventh in a row over Hamline and moved the Tommies into fifth place in conference standings with half the conference basketball season finished.
The Tommies started off fast shooting 67 percent during its 22-9 scoring run and pressuring the Pipers at every opportunity. Junior Rachel Booth scored 11 points and pulled down four rebounds in the first half alone as the Tommies pulled out to a 33-25 halftime lead.
“I was pleased with how they executed,” coach Ruth Sinn said of the first half.
The Tommies’ second half however wasn’t as decisive.
Both teams came out of the break a little sluggish but the Pipers gained momentum and a St. Thomas lead that had stretched to 14 points early in the half was cut back down to four with St. Thomas leading 44-40. St. Thomas answered with a run of its own going on a 9-1 surge pushing the lead back up to 13 and out of the Pipers’ reach.
“When Hamline made their run and came within four we didn’t get all rattled,” Booth said. “We just calmed down, played good hard defense and executed our plays on offense.”
Booth was the only Tommie who scored in double figures, amassing 24 points along with 14 rebounds and five blocks in 28 minutes of action. The next highest scorers for St. Thomas were junior Becky Theisen and sophomore Ali Johnson with eight points each.
Kara Poirer and Nikki Klinck each scored nine points for Hamline, and Klinck also had eight rebounds to lead the Pipers’ offensive effort.
The Tommies came into the season with high hopes but have yet to hit its full stride during the opening half of conference play. Sinn credits the team’s struggles to having a young group that is too turnover prone.
“One of the things we’ve got to start doing is valuing the ball,” Sinn said. “We’re young. We’re learning.”
While the first half of the conference season may not have went as planned, the Tommies won’t have to wait long to get another crack at the conference. St. Thomas opens the second half of conference play Jan. 20 at Concordia-Moorhead.
Ben Katzner can be reached at email@example.com