WINONA, Minn. — At this rate, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota women’s basketball coach Brent Pollari is going to have a series case of premature aging.
Just three days after needing a pair of buzzer-beaters—one at the end of regulation and another with 0.5 seconds remaining in overtime—to beat Carleton, the Cardiac Cardinals were at it again Saturday afternoon.
But, thanks to the Herculean effort of Alexa Huisman (Adrian, Minn.), overtime was averted—but not a second straight nailbiter—as the Cardinals held off Concordia 60-56 in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game at the Saint Mary’s Gym.
Huisman scored a game- and career-high 20 points—including 13 of the Cardinals’ 17 fourth-quarter points—as Saint Mary’s rallied from a six-point halftime deficit to move to 2-0 in conference play.
Neither team could take control over the game’s opening 10 minutes, with Saint Mary’s leading by as many as two—twice—while the Cobbers held three-point advantages on three occasions, including 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
It was more of the same in the second quarter, as Brittney Flom (Kenyon, Minn.) knocked down a 3-pointer to give Saint Mary’s a two-point, 15-13 cushion, only to have Concordia drain back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 19-15 lead—and the Cobbers would play with the lead the rest of the half, building their lead to six, 33-27, at the halftime break.
The third quarter was a virtual mirror image of the first two, with both teams trading leads—including the Cobbers grabbing a two-point, 45-43 edge heading into the game’s final 10 minutes.
The junior knocked down three straight 3-pointers—accounting for the Cardinals’ first nine points of the quarter—and a Sam Jones (White Bear Lake, Minn.) basket gave Saint Mary’s its first lead of the quarter, 54-53.
Jenna Januschka converted a three-point play to give the lead back to Concordia, 56-54, but Huisman wasn’t finished, sandwiching a perfect 4-for-4 effort from the line around a Jones layup, to give the Cardinals the victory.
Huisman wasn’t the only Cardinal enjoying a career night, as Emma Schaefer (Roseville, Minn.) dished out a career-high 12 assists, while Jones chipped in 16 points and Flom added 10.
Januschka scored 18 points to lead a trio of Cobbers in double figures, with Greta Walsh and Grace Wolhowe pitching in 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The Cardinals (2-0 MIAC, 6-1 overall) are back in action on Wednesday, entertaining Bethel in a 7 p.m. conference contest at the Saint Mary’s Gym.