January 26, 2011

Pipers' hot shooting extinguishes #20 Blazers

The win is the fifth in a row for the Pipers on their home court, all since the start of 2011. It is also just the fourth win ever for the Pipers over the Blazers. Hamline last beat Saint Benedict, also at home, on January 17, 2009.

After five minutes of play between the Pipers and Blazers the score was just 5-3 in favor of the hosts. However, at 14:26, Kailyn Wilcox (So., Saint Paul, Minn.) hit a three-pointer for Saint Benedict, igniting the shooting for both squads.

Both teams began to hit their shots from long-range, with the Blazers hitting 5-of-11 and the Pipers draining 6-of-10 from outside the arc in the first half. Hamline had the final say in treys before the break, as Steph Robinson (Jr., Iowa City, Iowa) hit one with 30 seconds to play and Nikki Klinck (Sr., Hibbing, Minn.) knocked one down at the buzzer for a 38-30 Piper halftime lead.

Those shots had followed up a drive by Robinson up the lane that put the hosts up 32-27 with 90 seconds to go before the intermission.

Mary Wilkowski (Sr., Savannah, Ga.) had eight points and seven rebounds in the first half while Robinson and Klinck had seven points apiece for Hamline. Amy Stifter (Sr., Watertown, Minn.) led the Blazers with 11 points and six rebounds.

Kara Poirier (So., Eau Claire, Wis.) joined the three-point parade in the second half, putting the Pipers up by 10, 42-32, just before the 18-minute mark. A jumper in the paint from Wilkowski gave Hamline their largest lead yet, 44-32, approximately a minute later.

After that, it was all about the Pipers on the scoreboard as they held a double-digit lead until the final buzzer. Hamline went ahead by 15, 51-36, at 13:37, and never let the Blazers get closer than that again.

Hamline held a 20+ point lead six times, including a 22-point advantage, 77-55, with just over two minutes to play.

The Pipers shot over 47% for the game while holding the Blazers to under 35% shooting.

It was a well-rounded team effort from Hamline, as six players tallied double-digit point totales, led by 14 from Wilkowski. She added 12 rebounds for the double-double.

Klinck added 10 points and five steals as well as five assists while Je'Naya Brown (Fy., Lewisville, Texas) had 11 points and four steals.

Poirier added 13 points while going 3-for-6 from outside the arc and Robinson had 12 points. Steph Rice (Jr., Staples, Minn.) finished off with 11 points.

The Blazers were led by 15 points and 10 rebounds from Stifter. Heather Gillund (Sr., Ham Lake, Minn.) added 14 points.

Hamline is now 6-11, 5-9 MIAC while Saint Benedict, who still stands alone atop the conference standings, is 15-2, 12-2 MIAC. The Pipers will travel to St. Catherine on Saturday, January 29, to take on the Wildcats at 3:00 p.m.