Fast start sends Tommie women to 27-0

More news about: St. Thomas

Senior All-America Kaitlin Langer converted 10-of-12 field-goal tries and closed with 29 points, nine rebounds and three blocks as No. 2-ranked and host St. Thomas pulled away to a 66-49 win over No. 13-ranked Gustavus in Sunday's MIAC women's basketball playoff championship game at Schoenecker Arena.

The Tommies, who ran their win streak over MIAC teams to 34 games, have won six consecutive conference playoff championships under Coach Ruth Sinn -- the longest streak by any MIAC men's or women's hoops program.

Both the 27-0 Tommies and 25-2 Gusties will make the NCAA Division III playoff field when it's announced Monday. Gustavus, which has already set a school record for season victories, took its only two defeats against St. Thomas.

St. Thomas, which raced to a 30-16 lead after one quarter, made 12 of its first 14 shots from the floor. Gustavus' defense tightened and helped force eight UST turnovers in the second quarter. The Tommie lead dropped to single-digits for most of the second and third periods.

The Gusties trailed 39-30 at halftime but never got closer than four in the second half. It was 45-41 with 3:30 to go in the third frame on Hannah Howard's layup, but UST answered with a 12-2 run over the next 8:44 on the clock to push the lead to 14.

UST's Lucia Renikoff had 13 points, five rebounds and three steals. Paige Gernes added eight points and five rebounds. The Toms made 18-of-26 free throws, shot 50 percent from the floor, and had a 33-29 rebounding edge.

Miranda Rice had 11 points, and Mikayla Miller had nine points and eight rebounds. Gustavus made just 7-of-27 shots in the second half and closed at 35 percent from the field.

St. Thomas' unbeaten run includes five wins over teams with 20 or more wins.