St. Olaf 54, Univ. of Redlands 53 (Box)

Ole women edge University of Redlands after bizarre ending

Michael Abdella
November 18, 2011

REDLANDS, Calif.- After holding an 11 point lead with a little over five minutes to play, the St. Olaf women's basketball team held on to defeat the University of Redlands 54-53 in their season opener at the Redlands Tip-Off Classic on Friday night after a bizarre final few moments.

Following two missed free throws by St. Olaf junior Kirstee Rotty, the Bulldogs called timeout with five seconds remaining. After drawing up a play, the Bulldogs Mariah Barbetti-Cort, a pre-season All-American Honorable Mention according to d3hoops.com, drove the length of the court but slipped on the floor while putting up the potential game-winning layup, which came up short.

St. Olaf led 34-24 at halftime and led for most of the game but the Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run to start the second half, making four straight baskets in the process. With the score tied at 34, the Oles responded with a 14-3 run of the own, capped off by an Ashley Menzel three-pointer, to take a 48-37 lead with 5:31 to play.

However, the University of Redlands, which went 12-2 at home last year, chipped their way back into the game. Junior guard Ashley Sevilla sank two from beyond the arc to give the Bulldogs a chance in the closing seconds. The Oles missed several free-throws down the stretch while trying to ice the game.

St. Olaf was led by forward Erin Haglund's 16 points and eight rebounds. Haglund, a junior, scored the game's first eight points. First-year center Nikki Fronger pitched in with 10 points and seven rebounds in her first game as an Ole. Junior guard Mackenzie Wolter, who led the team in scoring (13.3 ppg) last fall, was held to five points on 2-11 but contributed seven boards and seven assists.

Courtney Carroll led the University of Redlands with 14 points, including three three-pointers. Sevilla added ten but connected on just two of ten threes. St. Olaf's defense did a good job containing Barbetti-Cort, who finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.

St. Olaf shot 33.3% (20-60) for the game, while the Bulldogs shot 385 (19-5). Both teams struggled from behind the arc as neither shot above 30% from three. The teams also combined to miss 19 free-throws in both teams' opening game of the fall.

Next up for St. Olaf is a game against Chapman University on Saturday night in the Redlands Tip-Off Classic. Earlier on Friday, Chapman rallied to defeat Trinity University 79-73.

Contact media relations specialist Mike Ludwig at (507) 786-3834 or ludwigm@stolaf.edu.