Thu, Feb. 6, 2014 - [Women's Basketball]
The duo of Kaitlin Phillips and Katie Langmeier led the Duhawks to victory over the upset minded Luther Norse on Wednesday night in the Athletic & Wellness Center, clinching a spot in the Iowa Conference tournament.
Luther entered the matchup three days after upsetting the Iowa Conference's second placed, Simpson Storm in overtime on Saturday, and hoped to do the same to the Duhawks.
Loras started the game 3-3 from the field- Kaitlin Phillips drained a floater in the lane, Kathleen Cabrera hit a three on a pass from Phillips, and Langmeier scored a layup off a Norse turnover giving the Duhawks a 7-0 lead early.
Luther called a timeout, looking to halt the Duhawks hot start.
Out of the timeout, the Duhawks stretched their lead to nine and looked to be in control on both ends.
However, Luther's Logan Hjerleid was fouled on a layup and converted the three point play swinging momentum back to the Norse.
With 10:34 to go, the game knotted at 19, Maddie Bare, Terese McMahon, and Kaitlin Phillips entered the game for the Duhawks. The subs proved to be timely and led to a shift in momentum.
Bare found McMahon for a quick layup sparking a 20-12 run that gave the Duhawks a ten point edge (41-31) at halftime. Langmeier, Obendorf, May, and McMahon controlled the paint in the half, outscoring Luther 22-6.
Owning the paint in the matchup was something that head coach Justin Heinzen knew the Duhawks would have to do in order to be successful against the forwards of the Norse.
"We certainly put more of an emphasis in controlling the paint and containing their two big posts (Nelson and Johnson). Much of our offensive and defensive scheme revolved around winning those two matchups and tonight," Heinzen said.
The physical and aggressive play of the Duhawks gave them the seven point edge in the key matchup, giving them the ability to distance themselves from the Norse early.
After leading for most of the second half, the Duhawks found themselves tied at 62 with about five and a half minutes to play.
With the momentum on the side of Luther, Loras head coach Justin Heinzen called a timeout.
In the first possession out of the timeout, junior Victoria May grabbed an offensive rebound and went back up strong making the basket and drawing the foul. With the opportunity of a three-point play, momentum quickly swung back to the side of the Duhawks.
Following May's free throw attempt, the Duhawks closed the game on an 18-10 run, topping the Norse 80-72 despite a strong performance from Taylor Johnson (20 points, 8 rebounds).
Kaitlin Phillips led the Duhawks with 23 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals as she continued her impressive comeback season.
"Her pace and style of play impacts the game offensively but what she's been able to do to opposing guards on the defensive side has really helped," said head coach Justin Heinzen of Phillips.
Coach Heinzen was also happy to see Katie Langmeier get back on track.
Langmeier recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
"I think she played aggressive and that's the key to her game. She makes a living on hustle plays and using her athleticism to her advantage and tonight, she was able to just play. In the past couple games, mostly due to foul trouble, her minutes have been a bit limited compared to what she is accustomed to so that flow wasn't quite there for her. It was good to see her back to old form tonight" Heinzen added.
With the Iowa Conference victory, the Duhawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the conference tournament. The Duhawks moved to 14-6 (9-0) with the win and maintain their hold of first place in the IIAC.
The Duhawks return to the court at home on Saturday in the AWC when they take on the Wartburg Knights at 2:00 p.m.