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Eric Peterson, Published February 05 2014

Cobbers rally past St. Olaf for women's basketball victory

MOORHEAD – Depth helped Concordia clinch a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball playoff spot.

Three bench players combined for 29 points to help spark the Cobbers to a 58-49 victory against St. Olaf on Wednesday at Memorial Auditorium.

“It’s like an injection of instant energy when they get on the floor,” Cobbers head coach Jessica Rahman said of her bench players.

The Cobbers (16-4, 14-3 MIAC) have won 10 of their past 11 games to earn a spot in the conference postseason tournament for a 12th consecutive year.

“We have a very strong bench,” said Cobbers senior Kelsey Walloch, who scored 10 points in 15 minutes off the bench. “It’s not different from when our starters go off to when our subs go in. There is no letdown in the game at all, which I think a lot of teams struggle with.”

The Cobbers depth didn’t take hold until after halftime. St. Olaf built a 33-20 lead after sophomore guard Kim Cerjan scored a 3-point play with 16 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the second half. Concordia countered with 22 consecutive points to surge into the lead for good. Walloch scored eight points during that stretch, including three baskets from close range. Sophomore forward Olivia Johnson capped the game-shifting rally with a 15-foot jump shot that gave the Cobbers a 42-33 lead with 8:20 remaining.

“We just got in the flow with our offense and we started working well together,” Walloch said. “I think our defense helped push our offense.”

The Cobbers played 11 different players against St. Olaf with no player playing reaching 30 minutes. Freshman guard Emma Peterson scored 12 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Concordia junior forward Erin Januschka added seven points in a reserve role.

“For us, it’s the fact everyone has pretty fresh legs so they can come in and they can have the same level of intensity,” Rahman said. “That’s the thing that is significant. They get after things.”

The Cobbers struggled in the first half, shooting 21 percent (6 of 29) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. St. Olaf took advantage, building a 25-17 halftime lead. The Oles scored eight of the first 11 points in the second half before Concordia stared to rally.

“It’s good that we can come back, but we’d rather not have a half that’s bad,” said Walloch, who made 4 of 5 shots from the field.

ST. OLAF (12-8, 10-7 MIAC): Wahlberg 0-4 0-0 0, Raney 1-8 3-4 5, Cerjan 6-11 5-7 19, Gutierrez 4-9 0-0 9, Webber 1-1 0-0 2, Bandel 0-1 0-0 0, Riley 0-1 1-2 1, Wolter 2-4 0-0 5, Rongstad 0-0 0-0 0, Daly 1-5 0-0 2, Ehrich 3-8 0-0 6. Totals 18-52 9-13 49.

CONCORDIA (16-4, 14-3): Johnson 1-4 1-2 3, Lippert 2-8 3-4 7, Walsh 0-5 0-0 0, Jossart 2-9 0-0 6, Fisher 4-11 2-2 13, Peterson 4-9 4-4 12, Rosenfeldt 0-0 0-0 0, Jeske 0-2 0-0 0, Forness 0-1 0-0 0, E. Januschka 3-7 1-2 7, Walloch 4-5 2-2 10. Totals 20-61 13-16 58.

Half: SO 25, CC 17. 3-point goals: SO 4-22 (Wahlberg 0-1, Raney 0-1, Cerjan 2-6, Gutierrez 1-5, Riley 0-1, Wolter 1-3, Daly 0-2, Ehrich 0-3), CC 5-25 (Johnson 0-2, Walsh 0-4, Jossart 2-7, Fisher 3-9, Jeske 0-1, Forness 0-1, E. Januschka 0-1). Total fouls: SO 15, CC 14. Rebounds: SO 34 (Daly 8), CC 44 (Lippert 8). Assists: SO 7 (Cerjan 2, Gutierrez 2), CC 15 (three players with 3). Steals: SO 4 (Raney 2), CC 4 (four players with 1). Turnovers: SO 14 (Cerjan 3), CC 12 (Walsh 3). A-312.


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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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