Small College Sports

Kari Fitzpatrick, Marissa Schroeder help Loras women's basketball to best start in program history

No. 8 Duhawks win 10th game in a row, improve record to 16-1 with 72-54 win at Coe

Loras junior forward Marissa Schroeder (25) dribbles through the defense during a women's basketball game earlier this s
Loras junior forward Marissa Schroeder (25) dribbles through the defense during a women's basketball game earlier this season. The Loras Duhawks are ranked eighth and at 16-1, are off to the best start in program history. (Photo by Wes Schilling Photography)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — No Loras women’s basketball team has been better at this point of a season.

Iowa natives Kari Fitzpatrick and Marissa Schroeder are a big reason why.

“We have just got a lot of talent on the roster,” Loras Coach Justin Heinzen said after the eighth-ranked Duhawks dispatched Coe, 72-54, in an American Rivers Conference game Wednesday at Kohawk Arena. “It helps when you are better off the bus than the other team. Not that tonight was. We have still got a long way to go, but I am excited about our ceiling and where we could be.”

The win was the 10th in a row for Loras, which improved its record to 16-1 overall and 7-1 in the ARC, which has the Duhawks alone in first place. Loras had never won 16 of its first 17 games in a season until now.

“It is just how well we click together and how well we are on and off the court,” said Schroeder, who posted 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds against Coe. “We are all super close and there is no drama, there are no arguments. We all want the best for each teammate, so that helps us succeed.”

The 6-foot-1 Schroeder was a two-time selection to the Class 1A all-state team at Bellevue Marquette, where she helped the Mohawks win a pair of Tri-Rivers Conference titles and qualify for the state tournament as a senior. Schroeder has continued her excellent play at Loras, where she was named to the ARC first team as a freshman and sophomore.

“My role really just goes with where the team needs me,” said Schroeder, who leads the team with 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. “If they need me to be more versatile and try and shoot 3s, which I am trying to do more now, then I will do that. But I will also be the big body and try and post myself up. But really just where the team needs me.”

The Duhawks took a big step in the race for the ARC conference title with an 82-78 win at Wartburg on Jan. 11. Loras had lost its last nine meetings with Wartburg dating back to the 2015-16 season.

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“It was huge,” said Fitzpatrick, who scored 13 points against Coe. “Just another step in the road. … It was nice to be able to go there and make a statement and get a win.”

Fitzpatrick was an all-state player at Edgewood-Colesburg before beginning her collegiate career at Upper Iowa. Following her transfer to Loras, a knee injury limited her 2017-18 season to just three games. A healthy junior campaign culminated with her selection to the ARC all-conference team, and now she will finish out her senior year with what appears to be a special group.

“I am just grateful to be still playing the game,” said Fitzpatrick, who is fourth on the team with 11.6 points per game. “I chose to stay another year. It is kind of cool to see it all come full circle and realize that it is why you put in all this time and you should never give up. You just never know what is going to come forward.”

Loras senior Macenzie Kraemer led all scorers with 19 points, while former Camanche prep Courtney Schnoor added 12.

Maddie Wilkins scored 13 points for Coe (10-7, 5-3).

Women’s basketbal

AT KOHAWK ARENA

No. 8 Loras 72, Coe 54

LORAS (72): Macenzie Kraemer 6-10 4-6 19, Kari Fitzpatrick 5-9 1-1 13, Marissa Schroeder 4-11 3-4 11, Riley Eckhart 4-8 0-0 10, Courtney Schnoor 5-10 2-2 12, Ashley Funk 0-2 0-0, Maesyn Benjamin 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Haslow 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Fleckenstein 0-4 1-2 1, Lydia Breunig 2-5 1-1 6, Jaime Ryan 0-0 0-0 0, Cierra Bachmann 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 26-60 12-16 72.

COE (54): Jackie Feldt 3-13 2-2 8, Sydney Schroder 0-1 0-0 0, Maddie Wilkins 4-9 3-8 13, Jamie Feldt 2-3 1-3 5, Lexi Doyle 4-7 0-0 8, Alyse Southard 2-4 2-2 6, Destiny Smith 1-2 0-2 2, Taylor Huber 3-5 4-4 10, Rylee Claussen 1-2 0-0 2, Molly Buck 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 20-46 12-21 54.

Loras 22 17 19 14—72

Coe 9 14 15 16—54

Three-point goals — Loras 8-23 (Kraemer 3-7, Eckhart 2-4, Fitzpatrick 2-5, Breunig 1-2, Bachmann 0-1, Fleckenstein 0-2, Schroder 0-2); Coe 3-18 (Wilkins 3-8, Huber 0-1, Smith 0-1, Southard 0-1, Jac. Feldt 0-3, Buck 0-4). Rebounds — Loras 27 (Schroeder 9); Coe 30 (Smith 7). Assists — Loras 16 (Schnoor 4, Schroeder 4); Coe 15 (Schroder 4). Turnovers — Loras 12; Coe 24. Total fouls — Loras 17; Coe 19. Fouled out — None.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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