Defense Gives Knights First Win
NEW ULM, Minn. - The MLC women's basketball team overcame a tough night on the offensive end with a great defensive effort a clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to win their first game of the season by the score of 63-58 over Waldorf Saturday afternoon.
The Knights trailed by as many as ten points in the first half, but cut the deficit to five points with a late run heading into the break at 35-30.
MLC really turned up the heat to begin the second half, scoring the first 11 points of the half to take a six-point lead at the 17:24 mark. Sarah Free (Plover, Wis./LPS) scored six points during the run on two three-pointers, while Katherine Kogler (Fallbrook, Calif./CLHS) had the other five.
After the Warriors made a run to take a one-point lead at 44-43 several minutes later, the two teams settled into their defenses, as neither team would score a point after the 15:24 mark until Kogler hit a jumper to put the Knights ahead by one with 11:19 remaining.
The Warriors tied the game at 47-47 with just under ten minutes to play, but two free throws from Erica Babinec (Onalaska, Wis./Luther) gave the Knights a two-point lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
Down the stretch, the Knights made Waldorf pay for fouling them. MLC went 16-18 in the second half from the charity stripe, with all of them shot by Babinec or Kogler. Babinec finished 9-10 in the second half from the line, while Kogler went 7-8 to hold off the Warriors.
Kogler finished with a game and season-high of 20 points and also was a big factor on the glass with 11 rebounds (six of them offensive rebounds). Babinec added 16 points and nine rebounds, while Free added 15 points on 5-11 shooting from the floor (including 4-7 from beyond the three-point arc).
The Knights received a big boost in the paint on the defensive end and on the boards throughout the game. Emily Boldt (Mukwonago, Wis./LPS) finished with 11 rebounds, giving her four straight games with that many boards. Carrie Fritzler (Deford, Mich./MLS) added six rebounds to go along with three blocks and four steals.
With the win, MLC improved to 1-8 on the season, while Waldorf dropped to 4-9. The Knights will return to action on Thursday, December 17, when they host Dakota-Wesleyan for a 7 p.m. game at MLC.[BOX SCORE]