Spartans Overcome Sluggish Start, Blitz Dutch in Second Half

Feb 4, 2015


PELLA, Iowa – The University of Dubuque women’s basketball team finished 22-for-22 at the free throw line and outscored Central, 45-28, in the second half to win their sixth straight game, 68-52, on Wednesday night.

Senior Meggie Schmidt recorded her first double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Jenna Kotas added 18 points and pulled down nine boards, and the Spartans (14-6, 8-1 Iowa Conference) shook off 29 percent shooting in the first half to pull away from the winless Dutch (9-11, 0-9 Iowa Conference). The Spartans now hold a two-game lead in the IIAC standings with five games remaining in conference play after wrapping up their sixth straight IIAC tournament berth under coach Mark Noll.

Free throws were the name of the game for the Spartans after taking advantage of the charity stripe, 18-18, in the second period. UD’s free throw prowess allowed them to earn their first double-digit win in their last seven games. Kotas (8-8), Schmidt (4-4), and Jessica Goetz (4-4) hit 16 of 16 free throws combined on the game and were an integral part of two decisive runs in the second.

Trailing by one at half, the Spartans ran away with a 12-0 run at the 19:00 mark of the second half to grab a 37-26 lead. Kotas, the Iowa Conference’s leading free throw shooter at 92.9 percent, utilized four free throw makes while collecting six Spartan points during the decisive run. The Dutch remained within striking distance, 59-50, with 2:15 remaining, but UD quickly closed the door with a 9-0 run punctuated by a pair of jumpers and four free throw makes.

Despite the Spartans poor shooting in the first, they never trailed until a Central three-pointer with 40 seconds remaining gave Central their lone lead of the game at the break, 24-23. Reigning IIAC Female Athlete of the Week, Emily Brinker, finished with another strong opening stanza after four points and five rebounds complemented Schmidt’s game-high eight points in the half.

The Spartans now sport the Top-3 free throw shooters in the conference with only Schmidt (91.7%) and Kayla Springer (90.2%) trailing Kotas. Through nine IIAC games the Spartans have attempted 233 free throws compared to 189 from the closest IIAC foe. UD shoots 76% as a team but has converted 63 of 67 (94%) in their last three games.

Central also shot an efficient 11-for-13 at the foul line and were led by guard Rachel Evans who tallied 11 points and five assists.

The Spartans face Coe (13-7, 6-3 Iowa Conference) at home this Saturday, February 7 at 2:00 p.m. The Kohawks were beaten on the road at Wartburg, 60-54, on Wednesday night. UD defeated Coe on the road, 77-72, in their first matchup on January 28.