November 17, 2009

Pipers soar over Eagles in season opener

Northwestern gained a seven-point lead at 18-11 just under eight minutes after the opening tip-off as Becca Scheil (Jr., Blaine, Minn.) made a three-pointer from the top of the arc.

The score remained there until Nikki Klinck (Jr., Hibbing, Minn.) made a pair of free throws just after the mid-way point of the half to cut the Pipe deficit to five. Jackie Kelly (Jr., Blaine, Minn.) then snagged a steal on the Eagles’ next possession, leading to another pair of Hamline free throws, this time from senior Rochelle Sather (Andover, Minn.), to make the score 18-15.

Kelsey Kosman (Jr., Forest Lake, Minn.) answered with Northwestern’s second trey in a row to put the Eagles up by six.

The Eagles stayed ahead by a minimum of three points until with just under three points to play in the first half, Kristin Sczublewski (Jr., Pierz, Minn.) drained a three-pointer to cut Northwestern’s lead to two, 32-30. Katie DeWitt (Sr., Lino Lakes, Minn.) then made a free throw for a three-point Eagles advantage. Kosman added another two from the foul line to put Northwestern up 35-30 with 50 seconds to play before halftime. The score stayed there as the teams headed into the locker room.

Sather led the Pipers in the opening twenty minutes with 10 points while Mary Wilkowski (Jr., Savannah, Ga.) led the Hamline rebounding with four boards. Northwestern was led by 12 points from DeWitt and five rebounds from Megan Myhre (So., Barnum, Minn .).

Three minutes into the second half, the Pipers trailed 37-33. Sczublewski cut the lead to one with a three pointer at 16:41, and then gave Hamline a one-point lead, 38-37, with a lay-up forty seconds later.

The Eagles and the Pipers stayed within a point or two of each other for the next

Trailing by one, 50-49, at 10:33, Kara Poirier’s (Fy., Eau Claire, Wis.) defense outside the arc forced an Eagle into a traveling turnover. On the ensuing possession, Kelly attempted a three-pointer, Wilkowski rebounded the ball, and instantly put it back up for the 51-50 Hamline lead.

The teams continued to battle through ties and single-point leads, including a lead exchange at 3:48 after Stephanie Robinson (So., Sioux City, Iowa) grabbed a steal near midcourt and took it in for a layup and a 61-60 Hamline lead.

The teams exchanged a series of two-point shots to get to 65-64 in favor of the hosts with two minutes to play. At that same score, Northwestern took a timeout with exactly sixty seconds to play.

After play resumed, an Eagles’ missed shot was pulled down by Wilkowski, who was fouled on the rebound. She made both shots in a one-and-one bonus situation for a 67-64 Piper lead with forty seconds on the clock.

DeWitt brought the Eagles to within one on a lay-up with 32 seconds remaining. Northwestern fouled Sczublewski after the Pipers in-bounded the ball, and she made the first of her two shots from the line for the 68-66 lead with the clock at :30.

Allison Johnson (Jr., Greenfield, Minn.) then drew a shooting foul for Northwestern under the basket, but made only one shot from the free throw line, leaving Hamline up, 68-67.

Sather rebounded the missed free throw and drew the next Piper foul after the rebound, draining both free throws for a 70-67 lead with 13 seconds left in the game. DeWitt attempted a three-pointer to tie the game with four seconds remaining, but the ball went in-and-out, ending up in Wilkowski’s hands.

She was fouled and made both free throws for the final 72-67 Piper victory.

Wilkowski and Sather each had 18 points for the Pipers, while Sczublewski tallied 12 and Kelly had 11. Wilkowski led with nine rebounds (three offensive).

The Eagles were led by 18 points from DeWitt and 17 from Johnson. Ariel Liesch (Sr., Lino Lake, Minn.) added 11. Myhre led with seven rebounds (one offensive).

The game was the first of the season for both teams, Hamline opening at 1-0 overall, Northwestern at 0-1 overall. Hamline is off until Wednesday, December 2, when the Pipers will open MIAC play at Augsburg at 7:30 p.m.