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College women's basketball: Yellowjackets keep buzzing

Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com St. Scholastica's Taylor Nowling (5) competes with Wisconsin-Superior's Taylor Kane (10, left) and Morgan Anderson (12) for the ball during Wednesday's game at Reif Gymnasium.

Duluth native Eva Reinertsen was known as a 3-pointer shooter as a freshman at Wisconsin-Superior in 2016-17.

The problem was, she was only known as a 3-point shooter.

If Reinertsen was going to make a bigger impact at the collegiate level, she was going to have to expand her game. And expand it, she has.

Reinertsen, a junior forward, scored 11 of her 14 points in the first half as Wisconsin-Superior jumped out fast and cruised past St. Scholastica 74-52 in its UMAC opener before 233 at Reif Gymnasium.

"I had to work hard over the summers to become more versatile, because everyone in the conference just expected me to stand out there and shoot," Reinertsen said. "Now I'm able to get inside, and that's good for my team. It helps open things up."

After Reinertsen helped stake UWS to a big lead, senior forward Hannah Norlin, the reigning NCAA Division III national player of the week, helped keep it, scoring 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.

The Yellowjackets (6-1 overall, 1-0 UMAC), the three-time defending conference champions, have never lost a UMAC game, upping their streak to 55 straight counting playoffs.

"It's not something we talk about," Reinertsen said of the streak. "I'm sure there is pressure, but we don't think about that much. We just go out there and play our game."

If anything, the Yellowjackets use the streak to their advantage knowing every conference opponent is trying to give them their best game.

That didn't happen Wednesday as St. Scholastica, which trailed 37-23 at the half, never challenged after the Yellowjackets went on a 10-0 run late in the first quarter.

Frustration was the word of the day for the Saints (0-5, 0-1), who are still seeking their first win after a tough nonconference schedule.

Coach Stacy Deadrick wants the defense to spark the offense, but it has been a struggle. This team comes and goes with its shooting, and on Wednesday, St. Scholastica only made 18 baskets.

"When you shoot in the 20 percentile, you're not going to win," said Deadrick, referring to the Saints' 29.5 percent field-goal shooting. "If we shoot in the high 30s, it's a whole different game. The frustrating part, as a coach, is knowing we're only an inch or two away."

Meanwhile, things continue to roll for UWS under coach Zach Otto-Fisher, who had the interim tag removed from his title after he guided the Yellowjackets to a 23-5 record last year and third straight appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Some may have expected UWS to be down this year after the Yellowjackets graduated three-time UMAC player of the year Hailey Kontny and defensive stopper Justine Larson.

Instead, Norlin has become the focal point of the offense, while the 5-foot-11 Reinertsen can play inside or out and run the floor. She has the ability to get a rebound on one end and take it all the way for a layup on the other.

Point guard Emily Carpenter is not just a distributor but an excellent shooter, and years of success also have reaped rewards. UWS added Taylor Kane, a 6-foot forward from Grand Rapids who transferred from NCAA Division II Northern State last year, and the bench is deep. Norlin and Kane had 10 rebounds apiece as UWS held a 50-32 rebounding advantage and outscored the Saints 36-18 in the paint and 23-8 off the bench.

"We lost some really good players, but I'm impressed with how this team has responded," Reinertsen said. "People weren't expecting us to do as well, so we've been working really hard to prove them wrong.

"It goes back to the chemistry with this team. We've got a lot of shooters, but I don't think anyone cares who the star is or who scores, just so we win."

Reinertsen grew up in Piedmont and now lives in Lincoln Park and commutes over the bridge. She was homeschooled but played high school basketball at Lakeview Christian Academy and Duluth Denfeld.

Reinertsen has a 4.0 grade-point average majoring in social work and psychology. While she didn't exactly expect this coming out of high school, she sure isn't complaining about the result.

"I knew this program had big expectations when I came here, and I just wanted to contribute in any way I could," Reinertsen said. "It's been great. I wouldn't have traded this for anything, and I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else."

Wisconsin-Superior 74, St. Scholastica 52

Wisconsin-Superior — Taylor Kane 4-5 1-1 9, Eva Reinertsen 5-10 3-3 14, Hannah Norlin 7-16 5-6 19, Emily Carpenter 2-5 0-0 5, Ellie Leadstrom 0-4 4-4 4, Lindsey Jalivay 0-2 0-0 0, Marissa Ruiz 0-3 0-0 0, Morgan Anderson 1-3 4-5 6, Mackenzie Kmecik 2-4 1-2 5, Kaly Kostrova 5-7 2-2 12, Katie White 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 20-23 74.

St. Scholastica — Taylor Nowling 2-6 1-2 6, Mariah Pearson 3-11 0-0 6, Alison Huber 1-9 5-6 8, Michala Walther 5-10, 0-0 13, Kaylee Kennedy 4-12 3-3 11, Maddy Halley 1-1 0-0 2, Emma Schmidt 0-1 0-0 0, Danielle Cieluch 1-2 0-0 2, Lizzie Altendorf 1-8 2-2 4, Amber Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-61 11-13 52.

Halftime — UWS 37, CSS 23. 3-point goals — UWS 2-10 (Reinertsen 1-4, Caprtern 1-2, Leadstrom 0-1, Jalivay 0-1, Ruiz 0-2), CSS 5-21 (Nowling 1-1, Pearson 0-2, Huber 1-7, Walther 3-6, Kennedy 0-2, Schmidt 0-1, Cieluch 0-1, Smith 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — UWS 50 (Kane, Norlin 10), CSS 32 (Cieluch 5). Assists — UWS 15 (Carpenter 5), CSS 14 (Pearson 3). Total Fouls — UWS 13, CSS 17. A — 233.

COLLEGE MEN

St. Scholastica 85, Wisconsin-Superior 51

Jarod Wilken came off the bench to score all 18 of his points in the first half as the Saints came out blazing, shooting 62.5 percent from the field (20-for-32) and 50 percent from 3-point range (8-for-16) to take a 53-19 into the break.

Wilken, who started for CSS last year, hyperextended his knee Nov. 17 at a tournament in Dubuque, Iowa, and has been mostly resting since then, until Wednesday.

"He's feeling better," Saints coach David Staniger said, laughing.

It was empty the bench time after that as 12 players scored for St. Scholastica (3-3, 1-0). Reserve Collin Anderson added 15 points as CSS outscored UWS 51-16 off the bench and Brandon Newman of Barnum chipped in 12.

Montroy Scott had 17 points for UWS (1-7, 0-1), while Mac Reykdal added 14.

"Brandon Newman was just named UMAC player of the week, and that was our first one since 2014-15, because we're so balanced," Staniger said. "That's what I love about this team."

Staniger said this year's team has a chance to be one of his best. One of the Saints' losses was on a half-court heave at the buzzer to then No. 15 Loras.

St. Scholastica was also crushed by Minnesota Duluth and St. Thomas before rebounding.

"We responded really well," Staniger said. "We've been so much more focused and team oriented. This team, they want it. They're a really determined group of guys."

Meanwhile, Quinn Fischer, the 2017-18 News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year from Esko, added nine points and has had an immediate impact as a freshman.

"He's been fantastic," Staniger said. "Coming out of high school, it's not an easy transition, but he's made it. He's a hard worker, and obviously very skilled. Add some strength to him, and we'll see where he goes, but his future is obviously very bright."

St. Scholastica 85, Wisconsin-Superior 51

Wisconsin-Superior — Andrew McGill 1-4 0-0 2, Ronny Galvan 1-2 0-0 2, Montroy Scott 5-18 6-7 17, Lucas LaMue 0-3 0-0 0, Mac Reykdal 4-8 3-4 14, Carter Brown 1-2 0-0 2, John Pioro 1-3 0-0 3, Da'Koi Hines 0-1 0-0 0, Thomas Robarge 0-1 0-0 0, Joseph Kramer 0-2 0-0 0, Adam Arroyo 2-3 0-0 5, Brody Eldien 2-2 0-1 4, Nick Ackerman 1-2 0-0 2, Sam Dettle 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-52 9-12 51.

St. Scholastica — Connor Gray 1-4 0-0 2, Nate Weets 1-3 0-0 2, Brandon Newman 3-6 6-7 12,

Quinn Fischer 3-8 2-2 9, Sam Thompson 3-6 0-0 9, Jarod Wilken 8-10 0-0 18, Collin Anderson 6-11 0-0 15, Chance Larson 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Carlson 1-2 4-4 7, Zach Sjoblad 0-0 2-2 2, Noah Ross 1-3 0-0 3, Avery Kosloski 2-2 0-1 4, Carson Passer 0-2 0-2 0, Josh Klune 0-0 0-1 0, J.J. Strumbel 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-59 14-19 85.

Halftime — CSS 53, UWS 19. 3-point goals — UWS 6-19 (Scott 1-4, LaMue 0-2, Reykdal 3-6, Brown 0-1, Pioro 1-2, Robarge 0-1, Kramer 0-1, Arroyo 1-1, Ackerman 0-1), CSS 11-27 (Weets 0-1, Newman 0-2, Fischer 1-4, Thompson 3-6, Wilken 2-3, Anderson 3-6, Carlson 1-2, Ross 1-2, Passer 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — UWS 31 (Scott, Reykdal 4), CSS 37 (Gray 5). Assists — UWS 9 (Scott 3), CSS 16 (Anderson 4). Total Fouls — UWS 19, CSS 13. A — 377.

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