NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College women's basketball team advanced to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament championship game with a 69-60 victory over Bethany Lutheran College in the first round of the UMAC tournament on Wednesday.
After splitting the UMAC regular season championship with the University of Minnesota-Morris, a coin toss was needed to determine the No. 1 seed for the tournament. The Knights won the coin toss, which set up their first round matchup with the No. 4 seeded Bethany Lutheran College squad and ensured them home court advantage throughout the tournament.
The two teams traded baskets for the first six minutes of the game as the score was tied up at 9-9 with 14:00 remaining in the first half.
Staff photo by Mark Newsom
Martin Luther College’s Hannah Hackbarth releases a 3-pointer as Kirsten Michael (center) seemingly knows the result during Wednesday’s women’s basketball game. The Knights hosted Bethany Lutheran College at MLC in the first round of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The Knights went up by double digits on a layup by freshman Alex Anthon with 8:10 remaining in the first half that put MLC ahead by a 27-16 score.
The Knights maintained about a 10-point lead for the rest of the first half, and when the horn went off to signal the halftime break the scoreboard showed MLC leading by a score of 40-32.
The Knights came out of the locker room a little cold. It took them three minutes to make their first field goal of the second half.
While the Knights were trying to find the basket, the Vikings put together a run, and all of a sudden the Knights lead had dwindled to 44-42 with 14:00 remaining in the game.
However, the Knights came right back with a 9-0 run of their own to push the lead back to double digits.
The closest the Vikings would come again was five points, and the Knights extended their lead to as many as 15 points on a layup by forward Amanda Burk with 2:05 remaining in the game.
The final buzzer sounded with the Knights on top by a score of 69-60.
Senior forward Emily Boldt scored only six points on the night, but she played what could be said to be her best game of the season. Boldt was a defensive presence inside for the Knights, leading the team with five blocks. She also handled the task of guarding Bethany's leading scorer, Jessica Englund, for much of the night, holding Englund to 15 points on the night.
"It was a fantastic defensive performance by Emily [Boldt] tonight," Knights head coach Larry Czer said. "She just really stepped it up tonight as a senior. I think her shot blocking intimidated them a little bit, and she gave us a huge boost emotionally as well."
Anthon led the Knights in scoring with 17 points on the night, while Burk added 15 points and seven rebounds and senior guard Erica Babinec added 12 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.
"Tonight just feels great," Boldt said. "The crowd was loud and that really helped pump us up. It feels good to get this one out of the way, but now we have to get back to business and start preparing for Morris on Saturday."
The Knights (19-7) will play at home at 7 p.m. on Saturday against the University of Minnesota-Morris for the UMAC tournament championship.
Burk 6-12 3-4 15, Boldt 3-7 0-0 6, Babinec 4-12 4-4 12, Gossen 2-5 1-2 5, Anthon 6-7 5-7 17, Hackbarth 2-4 0-0 6, Michael 1-6 0-0 2, Free 2-7 0-0 6. Totals 26-60 13-17 69.
Cepek 7-10 3-5 18, Englund 5-18 4-9 15, Edmison 1-7 0-0 2, Pelzl 6-16 1-1 16, Amman 0-5 1-2 1, Schoof 2-6 0-2 4, Wiederhoeft 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 23-66 9-19 60.
Halftime - MLC 40, BLC 32. Fouled out - None. Rebounds - MLC 39 (Babinec 11), BLC 47 (Englund 15). Assists - MLC 14 (Boldt, Anthon, Free 3), BLC 12 (Amman 6).