Last Wednesday's steady 63-51 home win over playoff-bound Carleton proved both the Oles' impressive potential and their frustrating inconsistency. In its previous game against Carleton, St. Olaf lost by 24 to their rivals from across the tracks.
A packed house anxious for a lunar eclipse and a pair of victories over Carleton watched the the team's two seniors, twins Danielle and Kristina Stoermer '08, help their team hold up their end of the bargain.
"To us, knocking off Carleton is pretty much like winning the Super Bowl," Kristina said. "That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but playing them always seems like the biggest game of the season.
"The best part was that we knew we were going to win the whole game--and seeing them wide-eyed, taking punch after punch was amazing."
Despite the thrilling upset, the season continued with the finale t home against St. Kate's, in which St. Olaf allowed the Wildcats to score eight of the game's last nine points.
Kristina Stoermer pumped in 22 points and 12 rebounds. Her sister Danielle also scored 13 points, while Jamie Erdahl '11 added 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists. St. Kate's overcame St. Olaf's late seven-point lead to relegate the Oles to 10th place in the MIAC. The Oles' last winning season was back in 1998-1999, when they finished third in the MIAC with an 18-4 record.
In coach Dave Stromme's first season, the team improved by just one win in MIAC play. However, only the Stoermers will be lost from Stromme's regular eight-woman rotation. Several players who started at times during the season, including Erdahl and backcourt mate Kelsey Oja '09, will return.
Two other senior stalwarts-to-be include posts Britta Hendrickson '09 and Elyse Erickson '09, who is abroad in Australia this term after leading the Oles in scoring with an average of 16.9 points per game.
Other players in double figures included Kristina Stoermer, who averaged 11.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, as well as first-year point guard Erdahl, who added over four rebounds and assists per game to her 10.8 scoring average.
Returnng guards Becca Neuger '11 and Tasha Mrosak '10 saw significant minutes off of Stromme's bench this season
For their part, the twins see fair weather ahead for the Oles. "I'm looking forward to hearing about strong senior seasons from Kelsey, Britta and Elyse, and solid performances from the other returners, too," Danielle said. "Don't think that just because the Stoermers have left the storm has passed."
Stromme will also have his first chance to bring in his own recruiting class next season.
In the end, the Stoermers were quite pleased with the team's season, despite the losing record and the disappointing finish.
"It was an honor to put on my white St. Olaf #40 jersey one more time and to go out and leave it all on the floor one last time," Kristina said.