Springer Guides Spartans to First Season Sweep of Duhawks Since 1980

Jan 31, 2015


DUBUQUE, Iowa – Better late than never.

Senior Kayla Springer certainly adhered to the age-old adage after waiting until 2:16 left in the first half to score her first basket in a season high 21-point performance. Springer scored the University of Dubuque women’s basketball team’s last eight points – six at the free throw line – to lead a 20-for-21 team effort in the Spartans third-straight win over Loras, 78-74, on Saturday afternoon.

The Duhawks (11-8, 5-3 Iowa Conference) utilized a 7-0 run and fought their way back from a double-digit second-half deficit to pull within one point with 4:24 remaining in the game. Springer quickly took over after scoring on a layup and drew the 5th foul on Loras’ leading scorer, Erin Weaver (16 points), during the ensuing possession. Weaver’s foul sparked a six free throw barrage by Springer to give the Spartans (13-6, 7-1 Iowa Conference) the 78-74 advantage with 14 seconds left. Jenna Kotas ended it with a pair of hotly contested defensive rebounds off an errant layup and jumper that included a jump ball tie up with three seconds remaining.

Springer finished the game 7-for-11 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. Emily Brinker, coming off a 13-point performance at Coe, added 16 points and six boards on 2 of 2 shooting from downtown and a 6-for-6 effort at the free throw line.

Springer and the streaking Spartans have won five in a row and eight of their last nine dating back to their final non-conference skirmish. The escape artists have held off the opposition by an average margin of five points, including one overtime affair, in six of seven IIAC victories.

Brinker showed off her shooting touch early on after totaling a season-high 14 points in the first half. The slashing guard flashed some range after hitting a pair of threes and a long-range two that helped keep Loras at bay in a half that featured two ties, two lead changes, and a slew of jump shots from both sides. Brinker’s jumper set up a double-digit lead at the 2:58 mark as Springer scored six of UD’s final eight points to end the first with a 48-36 lead.

The Spartan defense played a key role after scoring 25 points off of 17 Loras turnovers and holding the Duhawks top two guards to 23 points on 7 of 23 shooting with seven turnovers. That opportunistic effort helped suppress a 42-26 paint advantage for the Duhawks.

Similar to their previous meeting, current IIAC scoring and rebounding leader, Kotas, was held in check (nine points), but still snagged a game-high seven rebounds.

It was the first three-game winning streak in the series - by either side - since Loras won three-straight spanning the 2008-'09 and 2009-'10 seasons.

The Spartans travel to winless Central (9-10, 0-8 Iowa Conference) on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in their third straight IIAC road game. Central fell to Buena Vista, 68-58, on Saturday afternoon.