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Women’s basketball splits opening weekend tournament

November 21, 2014

The UW-River Falls women’s basketball opened its season with a tournament at the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota, this past weekend; the Falcons split the two games it played in the tournament.

The Falcons drew St. Mary’s University (Winona, Minnesota) as its first opponent of the tournament. The Falcons put up a heck of a fight against the 23rd nationally ranked St. Mary’s.

The first half didn’t start off well for the Falcons. At the half the Falcons trailed St. Mary’s by 19 points. The Falcons battled in the second half to out-score St. Mary’s by nine in the half. The Falcons trimmed the final margin to only ten points with St. Mary’s winning 72-62.

“If we would have played two good halves, we probably would’ve stole one from them,” said Head Coach Cindy Holbrook. “We only played a good second half and we got beat.”

Three Falcons went into double-digits in the game with sophomore forward Kate Theisen leading the way with 14 points. Sophomore guard Katie Messman and junior captain guard Richell Mehus put in 13 and 10 points, respectively. Freshman forward Taylor Karge and sophomore guard Hannah Pignato contributed seven points each in the Falcon’s defeat.

The Falcons as a team cleaned the glass, out-rebounding victorious St. Mary’s by a 39-33 margin. Seven was the lucky number for the rebound leaders for the Falcons: Theisen, Mehus and Karge were the game’s leading rebounders, each grabbing seven.

Shelby Auseth led the scoring charge with 18 for St. Mary’s. Emma Schafer came off the bench to contribute 13 points for the victors. Molly O’Toole and Bridgett Pethke both put in 10.

The Falcons faced off against St. Benedict in day two of the tournament on Sunday. The Falcons came out on top in its matchup against the tournament hosts.

It was a three-point ball game at the half and ended up being a 10-point victory for the Falcons. UWRF defeated St. Benedict by a score of 49-39. Mehus led the Falcons throughout the tournament and was named to the all-tournament team. Mehus scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds on Sunday. Karge led the Falcons in scoring on day two with 15 points. Karge also grabbed six boards in the contest. Sophomore center Taylor Augustine came off the bench and was a rebounding machine for the Falcons. Augustine grabbed nine rebounds in eighteen minutes of play.

“It went really well. It gives us a good starting point for where to build off of for the rest of the season,” Karge said about the opening tournament. “It was really nice to get that win under our belt and hopefully we can build off of it.”

Before the tournament and the regular season tipped off, the women traveled to Madison to take on the UW-Madison Badgers on Nov. 9. The Badgers won 94-55, but the Falcons came away with many positives from the exhibition.

“We really went to Madison wanting to see if we could run our stuff and see if we could focus on our piece and keep our composure,” Holbrook said. “That was a great experience for us, really, really fun. But we really try to focus on us.”

“It was an amazing experience just to play in the facilities that they have. It was honestly such an honor to play against such great athletes,” Karge said. “The game was very different, they are a lot stronger and a lot faster, but I thought we played pretty well against them.”

The Falcons play its first home game on Saturday. The game tips off at 3 p.m. against the St. Olaf Oles.