Spartans Dominate Eagles at Home

Nov 19, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa - The University of Dubuque Spartans women's basketball team improved to 2-1 overall on Wednesday night with a 77-60 victory over the UW-La Crosse Eagles on Jon Davison Court in Stoltz Sports Center. UD's defense forced the visiting Eagles into committing 30 turnovers and providing UW-L their first loss of the season.

Senior Kayla Springer led all scorers in the opening half of action with 12 points and five steals. Springer would be part of 13 steals and 17 turnovers by UW-L. The Spartans trailed in rebounding 18-21, but took advanatge of the turnovers by scoring 15 points off the Eagle miscues. The Spartans stretched out an early lead to 10 points before fallling behind as much as five points before capturing the lead at the break 33-32.

The Spartans returned to the court for the second half and would continue to pressure the Eagles and  extend their lead to the largest in the game as time expired. UD sank 15-29 shot attempts (51.7%), helped by quick passes in the paint leading to lay-ups in the final 20 minutes of play. Jenna Kotas would lead all scorers with game high 16 points. She finished sinking 7-14 shots in the game and grabbed seven rebounds. The starting duo of Jessica Gietz and Springer would both finish with 14 points. Springer led with six of the of the Spartans 20 steals. Emily Brinker added 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench to help UD improve to 2-1 overall.

The Spartans scored 44 of their 77 points in the paint, scored 32 points off Eagle turnovers, and led for 35:42 of the 40 minutes played. UD returns five starters and 12 letter winners from last year's 17-9 team that tied for second in the conference with a 10-4 league mark. The team's top six scorers return from a year ago, meaning the Spartans are poised for a run at the Iowa Conference title.

In 2014-15, senior forward Kotas leads the way after averaging team-highs with 15.8 points and 5.5 rebounds last season while shooting 40.8 percent (145-of-355) from the field, 31.2 percent (53-of-170) from 3-point range and 81.0 percent (68-of-84) from the charity stripe. She also added 31 assists and 32 steals. Kotas ranked fourth among IIAC players in scoring, fifth in free throw percentage and 3-pointers made, 10th in 3-point field goal percentage, 12th in rebounding and field goal percentage and 15th in steals. In IIAC play, Kotas ranked third in the league in scoring (15.2 points per game), seventh in free throw percentage (.825; 33-of-40), ninth in 3-pointers made (1.71 per game), 10th in rebounding (5.5 per game) and 15th in field goal percentage (.400; 78-of-195).
Senior point guard Goetz, a second-team all-league pick last season, will direct the offense. Last season, she was third on the team in both scoring (7.6 points per game) and rebounding (4.7 per game) and posted team-highs with 76 assists and 69 steals. Goetz led all IIAC players in steals (2.65 per game) and ranked fifth in assists (2.92 per game), sixth in blocked shots (0.65 per game), 20th in rebounding and 25th in scoring. In league play, she ranked second in the conference in steals (2.21 per game), fifth in blocked shots (0.79 per game) and 14th in rebounding (5.4 per game) and assists (2.50 per game). Goetz also posted a league season-high 10 assists against North Central (Minn.).
Senior guard Meggie Schmidt, a 2013 all-IIAC honorable mention, played in all 26 games last season with eight starts. She averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 31.8 percent (56-of-176) from the field. Schmidt also ranked second on the team in steals (44) and fourth in assists (32). She ranked fifth among IIAC players in steals (1.69 per game). In league play, Schmidt tied for fifth in the IIAC in steals (1.79 per game), 18th in rebounding (4.9 per game) and 30th in scoring (7.1 points per game).

Springer, another senior guard, averaged 7.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season while shooting 36.2 percent (54-of-149) from the field. She ranked ninth among IIAC players in free throw percentage (.767; 66-of-86), 11th in steals (1.35 per game) and 27th in scoring. In league play, Springer ranked 24th in scoring (8.1 points per game). Sophomore Daneshia Snitker averaged 6.8 points per game while shooting 64.2 percent (70-of-109) from the field and 70.5 percent (31-of-44) from the free-throw line.

In the IIAC pre-season coaches poll, the Spartans were picked to finish 5th.

"We will have a strong team again this year, with five quality seniors who will lead us, and we have some returning players with solid experience," stated head coach Mark Noll. "We are playing a really tough non-conference schedule this year which should help us get ready for the rigors of the IIAC."

The 14-date IIAC schedule begins Wednesday, January 7, 2014, with a complete slate of four games.