First-half explosion ignites Cobber women

By Eric Peterson
The Forum
Concordia scorched the nets for 45 points in the first half of its game against Winona St. Mary's Monday. You would think coach Kathy Wall would be happy with that offensive output. Right? Wrong.

"The score did not say how we felt about the game," Wall said. "It was a tough game. We were pushing the ball when we shouldn't have. We had a little more composure in the second half."

But even Wall couldn't argue the results. Concordia used its big first half to beat the Cardinals 72-53 at the Cobber Fieldhouse in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's basketball.

Mindy Schirm led the Concordia first-half offensive explosion. The 5-foot-6 senior guard scored 13 points in the first 20 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting.

Schirm started out on fire, hitting her first four shots from the field. Her 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Concordia a 20-12 lead with 12:03 left in the half.

"We got great shots," said Schirm, who finished with 15 points and three steals. "I was coming of good ball screens. I was wide open on all those shots, so you know my teammates were doing a good job."

Concordia shot 59 percent from the field in the first half.

Much of the Cobbers first-half scoring was started with their defense. Concordia used fullcourt pressure to cause 13 Cardinals' turnovers before halftime.

"We played good defense and created some turnovers," Schirm said. "We were able to capitalize on that."

Freshman Sara Kragerud hit an 18-foot jumper with 13 seconds left in the half to give the Cobbers a 45-29 lead. Concordia scored the last eight points of the first half.

Wall said Kragerud has picked up her play of late. The 5-foot-7 guard from Hawley, Minn., finished with eight points off the bench.

"She's playing well and getting more confident," Wall said. "The whole bench has been playing great. The starters know they don't have to play 35 minutes. They know we have bench players who can succeed and be a threat."

Concordia's bench netted 21 points.

St. Mary's made a few runs in the second half, however, it was unable to cut the lead to single digits.

Concordia now readies itself for St. Thomas, which is undefeated in the conference, Saturday. Wall said the St. Mary's game was a good tune-up for the Tommies. Both St. Mary's and St. Thomas like to push the ball.

"We can't get into a big running game (against St. Thomas)," Wall said. "That's to their advantage. They're such an athletic team."

Concordia improves to 16-5 overall and 13-3 in the MIAC with the victory. St. Mary's falls to 4-15 and 2-12.

"We struggled," Wall said. "But the good thing is we know we can play better. We haven't peaked yet."

ST. MARY'S (53): Skala 4-10 0-0 8, Koetz 1-11 2-2 4, Cleaver 2-6 2-2 6, Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Cain 5-9 0-0 10, Gleason 3-8 0-0 6, Schachtner 5-12 1-2 11, Miller 1-1 2-3 4, LaMere 1-2 0-0 2, Hollenkamp 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 23-62 7-9 53.

CONCORDIA (72): Kragerud 4-6 0-0 8, Schirm 7-13 0-0 15, Zollar 2-3 1-3 5, Vetter 4-9 0-3 9, Backer 2-6 1-2 5, Larson 0-1 0-0 0, Suarez 1-2 0-2 2, Hetland 0-2 0-0 0, Mehrkens 5-10 1-3 11, Walla 1-1 0-0 2, Jacobson 0-1 0-0 0, Sonstelie 6-12 3-4 15. Totals 32-66 6-17 72.

Halftime: Concordia 45, St. Mary's 29. Total fouls: St. Mary's 15, Concordia 11. Fouled out: Gleason. 3-points goals: St. Mary's 0-4 (Skala 0-1, Koetz 0-1, Cleaver 0-1, Hollenkamp 0-1), Concordia 2-6 (Kragerud 0-1, Schirm 1-2, Vetter 1-2, Backer 0-1). Rebounds: St. Mary's 36 (Schachtner 9), Concordia 46 (Sonstelie 10). Assists: St. Mary's 14 (Skala 6), Concordia 17 (Zollar 5). Steals: St. Mary's 9 (Koetz 4), Concordia 10 (Schirm 3, Vetter 3). Turnovers: St. Mary's 23, Concordia 21.

1996-97 Cobber Women's Basketball