The Loras College women’s basketball team is on a six game win streak going into the American Rivers Conference playoffs. Last week Wednesday, Feb. 13, the team took down Luther College in a conference match 67-60. Saturday, Feb. 16, the team took down Central College on the road with a 79-60 victory.
The American Rivers Conference against Loras College women’s basketball team and Luther College marked Loras’ 20th team win of the season and head coach Justin Heinzen’s 200th career victory. The last time the women’s team reached a 20-game wins was in the 2002-2003 season.
Loras was pushing right out the gates jumping to a 15-9 lead thanks to senior forward Hanna Stokes for using the momentum to force a steal and forcing a fast break resulting in a score. The Luther Norse wasn’t going down easy as they forced 11 first half turnovers. However, the Loras Duhawks were able to hold the Norse to a 29 shooting percentage in the first half, Duhawks holding the lead by eight at halftime.
Luther scratched its way back into the game in the third quarter. In the last few minutes of the third quarter redshirt junior guard Kari Fitzpatrick knocked down a jump-shot off a pass from sophomore forward Courtney Schnoor. Fitzpartick gave Loras a 2-point edge, 37-35, which the Duhawks held on to for the rest of the game.
About halfway through the fourth quarter, sophomore forward Marissa Schroeder locked in her sixth double-double of the season. The Norse was trying to take control and make a final push, but Schroeder and Stokes knocked down free-throws that locked in the victory 67-60.
Moving into last weekend, the team took to the road to take on Central College in another American Rivers Conference match-up in Pella, Iowa. This was the last game in conference play and would help determine where Loras is placed for post season conference tournament.
Central College Dutch took control early in the first quarter getting an early lead of eight points. The Duhawks were slow to turn it on but in the second quarter, the team was hot, outscoring the Dutch by 22 points. Since then, Loras cruised their momentum to the finish. Schroeder was a big influence leading the team with 22 points and going 8-11 from the floor.
To start the second quarter, Loras knocked down 11 field goals while holding Central to two, resulting in a 27-5 scoring difference. Junior guard Mackenzie Kraemer added to the table turning by adding a steal and a fast break layup to tie the score at 25. Loras continued to keep their foot on the pedal with finishing the last two minutes of the first half with a 7-0 run.
Senior guard Tayler Walker knocked down back to back three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Schroeder followed the trend and tallied one more to expand the lead to 74-55 with just over four minutes of regulation left to play.
The victories locked in Loras College women’s basketball team with the No. 2 seed in the American Rivers Conference. Wartburg College holds the No. 1 seed and is a likely opponent to see in the future. The Duhawks will be playing tonight, Feb. 21st, at 6 p.m. in the Athletic and Wellness Center. They will be taking on the winner of Simpson College versus Nebraska Wesleyan. To see the results, check duhawks.com