Late 10-Point Surge Leads To Win

Junior Autumn Thompson drive to the basket in the first half of the Cobbers' 82-78 win over St. Ben's in the home opener. She finished with a season-high 13 points.
Junior Autumn Thompson drive to the basket in the first half of the Cobbers' 82-78 win over St. Ben's in the home opener. She finished with a season-high 13 points.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/10/21)---Concordia held for 38:17 of the 40-minutes in their home opener against St. Benedict but it wasn't until a 12-2 with five minutes to play in the fourth quarter that the Cobbers were able to pull away from the Bennies and secure their first win of the year.

Concordia led 66-65 with 5:49 to play in regulation and then got baskets from Vanessa Kedl, Maddie Guler, Autumn Thompson and Emily Beseman to take a double-digit lead at 76-65 with 1:53 left to play. CC would hold off a late flurry from St. Ben's and come away with the 82-78 win.

The win avenges a 74-65 loss to the Bennies last Wednesday in the season opener for the Cobbers.

The Cobbers had four of their five starters finish in double figures in scoring for the game. CC was led by junior inside force Mary Sem who used her quick post moves to come away with a season-high 20 points. She went 7-for-12 from the floor, 5-for-7 from the foul line and had 13 of her team-high 20 points in the second half. Beseman was 7-for-14 from the field, finished with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to record the first double-double of the season for any Cobber player. Thompson was 2-for-5 from outside the arc and put up 12 points while Ellizabeth Birkemeyer was 2-for-2 from distance and had a season-high 12 points.

GAME RECAP: Concordia scored eight of the first 10 points in the game, led by eight after the first quarter and built the lead to a dozen points with 3-minutes left in the opening half. That's when the Bennies fought their way back in to the game and grabbed the momentum at the break. They scored the final nine points in the quarter and cut the Cobber lead to three points at 36-33 to end the first half.

Concordia kept the 3-point lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter but then a pair of layups by St. Ben's gave them their first lead of the game at 41-40 with 7:37 left in the period. The Cobbers didn't allow the Bennies to push the lead to more than single point and finally reclaimed control of the game by going on a quick 4-0 run in the final 1:30 of the third quarter. Birkemeyer and Sem connected on back-to-baskets which allowed CC to take a 55-52 lead into the final 10 minutes of play.

The game would be tied on one final occasion when CSB erased a 57-52 deficit and tied the game at 59-59 with 8:14 to play in the game. The teams battled for baskets for the next 3-minutes of play before Concordia posted the game-deciding 12-2 run.

FREE THROWS FOR THE WIN: Both teams made 31 field goals and seven shots from distance in the game. Concordia shot 55.4% (31-for-56) from the floor for the game and was 7-for-18 (35.0%) from 3-point range. St. Ben's connected on 44.9% (31-for-69) of their field goal attempts and 35.0% (7-for-20). The difference in the game came at the foul line where CC made 13 (13-for-16) free throws as compared to nine (9-for-12) for the Bennies.     

PAINT PATROL: Concordia held a 40-34 edge in points in the paint. Sem was able to get open down low and use her post moves to get open looks around the rim. The Cobbers were also able to get lay-ups from guards Thompson, Beseman and freshman Maddie Guler who were able to break down the CSB defense by beating their defender off the dribble and driving to the basket.

PAINT PATROL 2: The 6-point edge for CC in points in the pain on Wednesday was a 180-degree turn from las week's loss in St. Joseph. In that game, the Bennies got a 25-point performance from forward Maddie Schmitz and held a 40-30 advantage in points in the paint. Schmitz was held to 22 points on Wednesday.

SECOND-HALF SEM: Sem only had seven points at the half but then went 5-for-8 in the second half to put up 13 points and finish with the seventh 20-point game of her career and first since she put up 34 against Hamline on Feb. 3 of last season. Sem is second on the team in scoring this season with a 17.3 ppg average.

EMILY-EMILY: Beseman's 17-point, 10-rebound night marks the first double of the year of her career. She came close on three occasions in her first year in maroon and gold when she grabbed nine boards to go along with a double-digit point total. The double-double is a first for a Cobber player since Birkemeyer and Sem pulled off the feat in CC's quadruple OT win over St. Kate's last year.

Beseman's 17 points gives her three straight double-digit point totals for the season. She leads the team in scoring with a 17.3 ppg average.

SEASON-HIGH SENSATIONS: The Cobbers had three other starters post season-high point totals. Thompson was 5-for-10 from the floor and had 13 points while Birkemeyer went 2-for-2 from outside the arc and had 12 points.

NO-MISS MADDIE: Guler, the team's freshman point guard, didn't miss a shot on the night as she went 2-for-2 from the floor, 1-for-1 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the line. Her nine points is not only a season high but the first nine points of her collegiate career. She didn't record a point in her first two games of the year.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: The home team has now won the last four games in the series between the two MIAC rivals. CSB won the opener at home last season and CC returned the favor later in the year. That same scenario played out this season but the games were only a week apart.  

WAITING ON 700: St. Ben's head coach will have to wait another game to capture his 700th career victory. Durbin, who entered the game with 699 wins, is the winningest coach in MIAC women's basketball history and is on the brink of becoming only the sixth coach in all of Division III women's basketball to reach the 700-win mark.

UP NEXT: Concordia will head back to the road when they play at Augsburg on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. The Auggies have only played one game this season and that was a 92-74 win over Gustavus on Saturday. Augsburg swept the series last year, winning 61-51 in Moorhead and then claiming a 82-62 victory in Minneapolis on Jan. 25.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:
     

SPONSOR: Tonight's recap sponsor is Eventide Senior Living Communities. Not only is Eventide a neighbor of Concordia but they have been a long-time sponsor of Cobber athletics. Eventide's commitment to quality care is the same that Cobber coaches give to their student/athlete. And speaking of Cobber student/athletes, did you know that many Cobbers work at Eventide during their college days and go on to great careers at Eventide.