The Blazers led 13-10 after the first five and a half minutes. Jessica Englund (So., St. Francis, Minn.) made a lay-up on the next Piper possession and then Tromesa May (Fy., St. Louis Park, Minn.) snagged a steal on the next Blazer possession. That led to Kara Poirier (Fy., Eau Claire, Minn.) draining a three-pointer from the top of the circle for a 15-13 lead over the course of the next minute.
Mary Wilkowski (Jr., Savannah, Ga.) expanded that lead to four, 17-13, shortly thereafter.
The next two minutes were scoreless until Laura Canton (Jr., Pine Island, Minn.) made it a one-point game on a trey and Heather Gillund (Jr., Ham Lake, Minn.) added a lay-up to regain the Saint Benedict lead, 18-17, nine minutes into the half.
Those five points ignited a 10-0 Saint Benedict run that was ended before the eight-minute mark by another Poirier trey, making the score 23-20 in favor of the Blazers. Saint Benedict went on to lead by four at the break, 39-35.
Poirier, Wilkowski, and Englund had eight points apiece to lead the Pipers in the first half. Canton had 14 first-half points while Gillund had 10 for the Blazers in the opening 20 minutes.
The visitors opened up a 13-point lead, 55-42, within the first seven minutes of the second half, but the Piper battled back. A three-pointer from Jackie Kelly (Jr., Blaine, Minn.) at 8:26 closed the gap to seven, 60-53, and then another at 4:50 cut the Blazer lead to four points, 66-62.
However, the trio of Gilland, Devin Bowlin (Jr., Winona, Minn.), and Cassie Dorschner (So., Mantorville, Minn.) combined to score the next 11 Blazer points and give Saint Benedict the 77-64 win.
Gillund finished with a game-high 25 points while Canton had 20. Bowlin finished with 11.
Hamline had five players score in double-digits, led by double-doubles from Wilkowski (14 points, 11 rebounds) and May, who came off the bench (10 points, 13 rebounds). Englund and Kelly each tallied 14 while Poirier finished with 12 points. Kelly and Nikki Klinck (Jr., Hibbing, Minn.) had seven assists apiece.
The conference loss drops Hamline to 12-12, 10-11 MIAC record and the Blazers improve to 17-7, 16-5 MIAC. The Pipers will play their final regular season game at home on Saturday, February 21, at 1:00 p.m. against St. Thomas. The game will be the first in a women’s-men’s double-header.