Coe wins first-ever tourney game
Breitbach ignited game-changing 20-0 Kohawk run
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- A tough Kohawk defense kept one of the nation's most powerful offenses in check Friday night, as Coe beat Minnesota-Morris 78-53 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. Coe will face Howard Payne Saturday for a berth in the Sweet 16.
In their last outing, the Kohawks opened the game 1 of 14 from the field. That changed Friday, as Coe hit its first four shot attempts.
Senior Devvin Rolston scored the first bucket of the game, but Minnesota-Morris answered with a 3-pointer by Steph Roggenbuck. The Kohawks then fired off seven consecutive points in just 1:12, taking a 9-3 lead and never looking back.
Coe held a 15-9 lead with 12:25 left in the first half when senior Kaitlin Breitbach made a layup, igniting a 20-0 Kohawk run over the next 5:11. At two separate times, seniors Kayla Lincoln (Maynard, Iowa/West Central) and Sarah Anciaux (Iowa City, Iowa/City) hit back-to-back trey's during the run.
The Kohawk lead was up to 26 points with 6:57 left in the first half, but the Cougars went on a 9-0 run in 2:02 attempting to get back in the game. Coe held out in the first half, as they took a 40-24 lead into the locker rooms at halftime. The Kohawks shot 56.7 percent in the first half, while holding the Cougars to 25 percent.
Minnesota-Morris cut Coe's lead to 10 with 14:58 to play, as Emily Mehr scored seven consecutive points for the Cougars. Coe put the game away at that point. An 18-3 run over the next 7:06 sealed the Kohawks' first NCAA Tournament win in school history. Neither team scored in the final 2:13, while the Cougars were held without a field goal in the last 3:48.
Anciaux had a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds. She also added three assists and two blocked shots, while moving into fifth on the school's all-time 3-pointers list two on the night. Senior Devvin Rolston joined Anciaux in double-figures with 14 points, while junior Leslie Ware added 12 points and four assists. With a pair of 3-pointers on the night, Ware joined Lincoln as two of three players in school history with back-to-back seasons making 50 or more treys.
Junior Kayla Waskow added nine points, four assists and tied a career-high with three blocked shots. She became the 17th player in school history to surpass 800 career points in the game. Lincoln tallied eight points and two blocked shots in the win.
Along with her sister, Hannah Breitbach, Kaitlin Breitbach had seven points. Kaitlin added five rebounds and eight assists, as she moved to third on the career assists list with 359. Freshman Mary Halvorson had a career-high nine rebounds.
The Cougars entered the game with the 21st-highest scoring offense in the country at 73.8 points per game, while ranking second in field-goal percentage at 47.0 percent. Coe held them 53 points, their third-lowest total of the season. They shot just 30.5 percent from the field. Minnesota-Morris was also second in the nation in assists per game at 19.5, but were held to just eight against the Kohawks.
Minnesota-Morris was led by Emily Mehr's game-high 21 points, while Steph Roggenbuck added 15. Roggenbuck entered the game with the 24th highest field goal percentage in the country (53.7), but was held to just 5 of 15 shooting on the night. The Cougars' Brandi Cresap led the nation in assists-to-turnover ratio at 7.73, but was held without an assist and had two turnovers.
The win improved Coe to 25-3 overall, the most wins by any basketball team in Coe history. The 1972-73 men's team previously held the record at 24-1.
A spot in the Sweet 16 is on the line Saturday night at Eby Fieldhouse, as the Kohawks will host Howard Payne. The two teams met earlier this season, with Coe winning 61-50 on a neutral court. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.