Small College Sports

Luther women's basketball clamps down on Coe in overtime victory

Norse use 20-2 burst to erase early deficit, then withstand late Coe charge

CEDAR RAPIDS — For the Luther women’s basketball team, the new year brought renewed commitment.

Through the first month of the season, various lineup combinations yielded just two Norse wins in the first nine games. With a full 15 days between its last non-conference game and the resumption of the American Rivers Conference schedule, Luther emphasized its strength.

Defense.

“It’s been a tough start to the season for us,” Luther junior forward Laura Hamilton said after the Norse outlasted Coe in overtime, 64-62, in an A-R-C game Wednesday night at Kohawk Arena. “It was a long week of practice coming back from Christmas and we’re just focusing on coming together as a team and working on what we do best. Pressing, getting steals, working hard on defense.”

While the shots did not fall early for Luther (3-7, 2-1), its defensive energy kept it in the game. Trailing by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, the Norse stifled the host Kohawks with a 20-2 explosion and claimed a 34-29 lead late in the third quarter.

“I can’t wait to watch the film and actually figure that one out,” eighth-year Luther Coach Amanda Bailey said with a laugh. “I do think it was on the defensive side. We know that if we can play full-court, pressure defense, it’s a lot easier than to just sit back and allow someone to do whatever they want.”

Coe (7-5, 2-2) tied the game twice in the final minute of regulation with a pair of 3-point baskets from sophomore guard Maddie Wilkins, the second of which helped force overtime with 3.5 seconds to go.

Given their early-season struggles and facing an opponent with newfound life, it might have been easy for the Norse to claim a moral victory.

Not this time.

“We brought everyone together and we said, ‘Right now,’” said Hamilton, who led all scorers with 19 points. “’Right now. Let’s get one. Let’s start conference off, start the new year off and let’s turn this (stuff) around.’”

Two free throws from Luther junior Maggie Anderson with 1.8 seconds left broke a 62-62 tie.

Sophomore Jackie Feldt led Coe with 19 points, while Wilkins had 17. Coe junior Destiny Smith posted 11 points and a game-high 18 rebounds with five assists.

AT KOHAWK ARENA

Luther 64, Coe 62 (OT)

LUTHER (64): Maggie Anderson 1-4 2-2 5, Anna Edel 1-5 4-4 7, Sarah Holtz 2-9 3-4 7, Laura Hamilton 7-12 4-7 19, Madilyn Heinke 1-5 0-0 2, Coranda Vickerman 2-4 0-0 5, Kaylee Parks 2-10 1-1 6, Erin Saemrow 3-5 1-1 7, Jenna Uphoff 0-0 0-0 0, Madison Spence 2-13 0-0 4, Kristen Elliott 1-3 0-0 2, Brittney Sjulstad 0-2 0-0 0, Totals 22-72 15-19 64.

COE (62): Sydney Schroder 1-5 0-0 2, Jackie Feldt 6-16 6-7 19, Madeline Wilkins 5-13 4-5 17, Destiny Smith 3-8 5-8 11, Rylee Claussen 4-7 0-0 8, Mallory Hillman 0-0 0-0 0, Jamie Feldt 1-1 0-0 3, Kyna Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Marly Bussa 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor Huber 1-5 0-0 2, Totals 21-57 15-20 62.

Luther 6 16 19 15 8—64

Coe 16 13 6 21 6—62

Three-point goals — Luther 5-23 (Edel 1-2, Hamilton 1-2, Vickerman 1-2, Anderson 1-3, Parks 1-5, Saemrow 0-1, Sulstad 0-1, Spence 0-1, Elliott 0-2, Holtz 0-4); Coe 5-17 (Wilkins 3-6, Jam. Feldt 1-1, Jac. Feldt 1-3, Bussa 0-2, Huber 0-2, Smith 0-3). Rebounds — Luther 41 (Holtz 10), Coe 50 (Smith 18). Assists — Luther 11 (Spence 4), Coe 15 (Smith 5). Turnovers — Luther 12, Coe 19. Total fouls — Luther 21, Coe 17. Fouled out — Saemrow. A — 325.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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