Lauren Rotunda says nobody cares who scores buckets for the University of Mary women's basketball team.
On Tuesday night in their final NSIC tuneup, the Marauders took those words to heart.
U-Mary doled out 20 assists on 28 made baskets in an 82-51 victory over Presentation College at the McDowell Activity Center.
"Playing together is clutch," said Rotunda, who turned in a stellar 21-point, 10-rebound, 6-assist line. "Honestly, it doesn't matter who scores. Everyone has that same mentality. As long as we play together, that's what's going to make all the difference."
Presentation, based out of Aberdeen, S.D., plays in the same conference (North Star Athletic Association) as the University of Jamestown, Dickinson State, Mayville State and Valley City State. But the Saints, who fell to 1-5, were overmatched.
"Kids are savvy. They know the other team's record, they know their statistics, but you still have to come out and play," U-Mary head coach Rick Neumann said. "You have to give Presentation credit. They came out and played a very nice first half and shot the ball well."
The Marauders led 40-32 at halftime, but a 14-0 third-quarter run, which took less than two minutes, quickly ended any doubt.
"It's nice to have some spurtability," Neumann said. "We always have first-half goals because you can't win the game in the first half, but you can lose it. We put goals on the board for the first half and we didn't accomplish two out of the three.
"At halftime we made an adjustment on how we were going to guard their 5-out. We were more locked in, concentrated better and then we were able to stretch the lead."
Rotunda swished home back-to-back 3-pointers in the 14-0 run. Dani Williams also connected from deep. Rotunda took seven shots in the game and missed just one.
With all-conference post Gabbie Bohl dominating the paint, the key to a promising season for the Marauders likely will be how they stroke it from the perimeter.
"We have a very strong inside game. Last year, other teams knew that and really focused on it," Rotunda said. "This year, we're shooting the ball a lot better. When we kick it out, we have shooters ready to make shots. ... We have a great all-around game."
After Rotunda's 21 points, including four 3-pointers, Bohl totaled 18 points and five rebounds. Dani Williams sank three triples en route to 17 points. Cassie Askvig turned in a strong all-around performance with eight points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
The Marauders (3-2) head for Minot on Saturday to face the Beavers in the NSIC opener. Under former Dickinson State coach Mark Graupe, the Beavers are off to a 2-1 start after an 80-77 loss to Jamestown at the Dome on Monday night.
Rotunda says the Marauders enter conference play with high hopes.
"The main goal is to have the best season we've had in a while," the former Fargo Shanley star said. "Last year, we had some disappointing losses, but I think we learned from them and it's going to make us better. As long as we play together, I'm confident we're going to get into that win column a lot of times this season."