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ISSUE 119 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/24/2006

Women finish on high note

By Jean Mullins
News Editor

Friday, February 24, 2006

The St. Olaf women’s basketball team concluded their season with a 57-53 overtime victory over St. Mary’s Saturday. This season, the Ole squad had their share of ups and downs, finishing the campaign with a record of 10-15.

“It’s not about records,” said Pat Buresh, head women’s basketball coach. “But it is certainly disappointing.”

While the team won some important games throughout the season, the team was lacking offensively overall. While the generally low-scoring nature of many Ole games this year indicates the team’s consistent defense, Buresh pointed to missing free throws and rebounds as game breakers.

“In a lot of our games, missing from the line really made the difference,” Buresh said.

The Oles’ first four games left them with a 2-2 record, including victories over Buena Vista College and Martin Luther College. Against Buena Vista, Holly Grimsrud ’07 scored a lay-up with 28 seconds left in overtime to propel the Oles to victory.

After these initial wins, the Oles suffered a series of defeats, including some close contests against Augsburg, Concordia and Hamline. Overall, the Oles lost five games within five points or less. Buresh cites these losses as confidence busters for the team.

“There is not a bad team in this league,” Buresh said. “We had some really tough competition.”

Down the stretch, the team picked up some important wins against conference leaders St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s. In addition, the Oles secured the President’s Cup in an exciting, down to the wire game against Carleton, 63-60.

“We controlled that game from start to finish,” Buresh said. “It was just a great college game.”

The Oles then concluded their season with Saturday’s overtime win in Winona, Minn., against the Cardinals of St. Mary’s.

“We started off the season losing high scoring games and ended the season winning low-scoring games,” Christina Sampson ’07 said. “Our defense stepped up.”

Seniors Christine Schwictenberg and Natalie Rigelman both finished out their college careers strong. Schwictenberg finished out the season with 40.3 percent shooting from the field and 107 rebounds. Rigelman shot 43.7 percent and had 96 rebounds in her final year.

“It’s bittersweet,” Rigelman said. “It feels great to finish while we’re playing our best, but we’re also kicking ourselves that we couldn’t have pulled it together sooner.”

Schwictenberg echoed Rigelman’s sentiments.

“Overall the season was great, I loved it,” she said. “But we definitely had some tough losses.”

A mid-season addition to the team, Paige Bromen ’08, made a huge impact on the second half of the season.

“I am extremely grateful for the way the entire team accepted me from day one,” Bromen said.

She began practicing with the team Dec. 28 and played her first game Jan. 16. Overall for the season, she shot 39.5 percent from the field and had the second highest free throw percentage on the team at 68 percent.

“She’s a playmaker,” Buresh said about the recent transfer. “She’s one of these kids every team wants. The other players step up to match [her].”

With only two seniors graduating, many key players will be returning next season.

“We finished the season on a high note,” Bromen said. “I can’t wait to continue that momentum into next year.”

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