Photo gallery by Quinn Batten '17 -- COMING SOON
NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Emma Purfeerst (Sr./River Walls, Wis./River Falls) poured in 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Carleton College women’s basketball team against the visiting College of Saint Benedict, but the senior’s 14th career double-double proved not enough as the home team fell by a final score of 81-73.
Carleton (4-9, 2-8 MIAC) shot a strong 48 percent from the field in the first half, including an effective 7-of-15 mark (46 percent) from beyond the arc. Two of those triples came from Claire Thallon (Fy./Eugene, Ore./South Eugene), who posted 14 points on the afternoon, seven of which came in a back-and-forth first half that featured nine lead changes, five ties, and a flurry of momentum swings.
The Carleton offense in general was clicking on all cylinders in the first period, and the Knights got back to playing their preferred style of up-tempo MIAC basketball. “I felt we did a good job of dictating the tempo and got back to sharing the ball,” said Carleton head coach Cassie Kosiba.
Although the visiting Blazers (8-5, 5-5 MIAC) shot just 36 percent from the field over the game’s first twenty minutes, Saint Benedict used a first-half high of 10 points from Emily Lueck to keep the game even and head into halftime all tied up at 38-38.
Unfortunately for Carleton, its first-half hot-shooting did not continue into the early second period, and the Blazers took advantage, turning on the offensive jets. Said coach Kosiba, “I have to give St. Bens credit. They did a good job of adjusting their offensive attack in the second half, and we struggled to stop them.”
The Knights began the second period by missing their first five shots, registering its first field goal at the 16:33 mark on a layup by Purfeerst. The next Carleton basket came four minutes later when Skylar Tsutsui (Jr./Northridge, Calif./Harvard-Westlake)—who put up 15 points and tallied four assists—knocked down a three-pointer with 12:31 to play. Saint Benedict used Carleton’s struggles from the field to build up a 56-42 lead, and the Blazers maintained that double-digit cushion until just five minutes and 38 second remained in the contest.
At that relatively late juncture, sparked by a layup from Purfeerst, the Knights started to get some second-half shots to fall, and the momentum was finally back on the Knights’ side. When Purfeerst drained a three-point shot from the right corner to pull Carleton to within 77-70 with 2:05 to play, the West Gym crowd and hope for a Knights’ comeback, came alive.
However, the push proved too little too late for the hosts, and despite shrinking the Blazers’ lead to just five points on a Tsutsui jump-shot with 29 second remaining, Carleton’s comeback effort came up short. The Knight’s second-to-last possession, and only chance to make the game a one-score contest, ended in a missed jumper, and the Blazers sealed the deal from the free-throw stripe down the stretch.
The Knights next game is Monday, Jan. 20 as the early portion of a women’s-men’s doubleheader at Macalester College. Tipoff is slated for 5:45 p.m. Live audio will be broadcast on KDHL 920AM and Knights Online.