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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s Basketball Continues Skid with Losses to Three MIAC Rivals

<ong>Purfeerst comes up big, but Knights fall to St. Benedict

Emma Purfeerst ‘14 poured in 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Carleton College women’s basketball team against the visiting College of Saint Benedict, but the senior’s 14th career double-double proved not enough as the home team fell by a final score of 81-73.

Carleton shot a strong 48 percent from the field in the first half, including an effective 7-of-15 mark (46 percent) from beyond the arc. Two of those triples came from Claire Thallon ‘17, who posted 14 points on the afternoon, seven of which came in a back-and-forth first half that featured nine lead changes, five ties, and a flurry of momentum swings.

The Carleton offense in general was clicking on all cylinders in the first period, and the Knights got back to playing their preferred style of up-tempo MIAC basketball. “I felt we did a good job of dictating the tempo and got back to sharing the ball,” said Carleton head coach Cassie Kosiba.

Although the visiting Blazers shot just 36 percent from the field over the game’s first twenty minutes, Saint Benedict used a first-half high of 10 points from Emily Lueck to keep the game even and head into halftime all tied up at 38-38.

Unfortunately for Carleton, its first-half hot-shooting did not continue into the early second period, and the Blazers took advantage, turning on the offensive jets. Said coach Kosiba, “I have to give St. Bens credit. They did a good job of adjusting their offensive attack in the second half, and we struggled to stop them.”

The Knights began the second period by missing their first five shots, registering its first field goal at the 16:33 mark on a layup by Purfeerst. The next Carleton basket came four minutes later when Skylar Tsutsui ‘15—who put up 15 points and tallied four assists—knocked down a three-pointer with 12:31 to play. Saint Benedict used Carleton’s struggles from the field to build up a 56-42 lead, and the Blazers maintained that double-digit cushion until just five minutes and 38 second remained in the contest.

At that relatively late juncture, sparked by a layup from Purfeerst, the Knights started to get some second-half shots to fall, and the momentum was finally back on the Knights’ side. When Purfeerst drained a three-point shot from the right corner to pull Carleton to within 77-70 with 2:05 to play, the West Gym crowd and hope for a Knights’ comeback, came alive.

However, the push proved too little too late for the hosts. The Knight’s second-to-last possession, and only chance to make the game a one-score contest, ended in a missed jumper, and the Blazers sealed the deal from the free-throw stripe down the stretch.

Struggles continue at home against Olaf

Following a Monday road loss to Macalester, the Knights returned to West Gym on Wednesday evening. They faced off against rival St. Olaf College on in front of a raucous crowd infiltrated by visitors from across the river.

Michele Arima ‘16 scored 12 points off the bench, but visiting St. Olaf shot 64 percent in the first half in topping host Carleton College, 65-45.

The Oles (10-5, 8-4 MIAC) built a 38-16 lead at the break and opened the second half on a 15-2 spurt, with 10 of those 15 points coming in the paint as the visitors used a significant size differential to their advantage.

Skyler Tsutsui ‘15 added 11 points for Carleton (4-11, 2-10 MIAC) and Jessica Huang ‘14 a career-best 10 points for the Knights, who shot only 29 percent from the floor and were 7-of-32 from three-point range.

Elise Raney had 14 points to lead the Oles, who completed the season sweep of the Knights. Emily Wahlberg added 10 points for St. Olaf, which shot 57.4 percent from the floor for the entire game and out-rebounded Carleton 42-17.

“We may not be the biggest team in height or number, but when we play together, we’ve proven to be a force to reckon with,” said Carleton head coach Cassie Kosiba. “We’ve gotten away from our basics offensively and what was effective in the first half of the season. Thanks to the chaotic MIAC schedule, we must quickly reflect on this game, but then start to prepare for Saturday’s matchup against a feisty Hamline team.”

The Knights will look to snap their losing streak when they return to action on Saturday, Jan. 25, traveling to Hamline University for a women’s/men’s doubleheader.

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