There was no messing around for the University of Mary women’s basketball team Friday night.
Against cellar-dwelling Upper Iowa, the Marauders raced to 25 first-quarter points en route to a 73-38 win over the Peacocks at the McDowell Activity Center.
Cassie Askvig had 11 of her game-high 22 points in the opening 10 minutes as the Marauders got whatever they wanted in a crisp opening period.
“We were focused and ready to go. We wanted to come out right away and crush their hopes of being in the game and set the tone for the weekend,” Askvig said. “We feel like we’ve been building positive momentum throughout the season and we wanted to keep that going. This was a good game for us and we did what we needed to do.”
Friday’s affair represented a must-win game for the Marauders relative to getting a home game in the first round of the NSIC tournament. The 25-point first quarter went a long way in erasing any doubt.
“When you’re at home you want to come out and make a statement and play well ,” said Gabbie Bohl, who needed just nine shots for a typically efficient 20-point performance. “I’m glad we came out strong tonight. We still feel like we can play better, but it was a positive game for us for sure.”
Askvig and Gabbie Bohl combined for 42 points for the Marauders, who improved to 6-9 in the league and 10-11 overall.
Rick Neumann, head coach of the Marauders, knew his team was ready to go.
“The girls always tell me they never look at the standings, so I said, ‘That’s fine. Then as far as you know, we’re playing the best team in the league so let’s just worry about us and go out and play Marauders basketball,’” he said. “We’ve been playing good basketball. I think tonight was a continuation of that and that’s encouraging.”
Askvig nearly had a double-double in the first half and finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots as the sophomore from Minot continued her stellar season.
“I have great teammates that push me every day, that make me better and I’m so thankful for that,” Askvig said. “We have a great coaching staff that puts us in position to be successful. I just feel like there are a lot of positive things in place for us to have success. It’s just about putting in the time, working hard and good things will happen.”
Dani Williams, rapidly approaching 1,000 career points, added 13 points and three steals for the Marauders, who host Winona State today at 4 p.m. It’s a chance for U-Mary to make up ground on a team its chasing. The Warriors are 9-6 in the NSIC after getting routed by Minot State on Friday night.
“We know Winona’s going to come out and play their best, but we’re excited about it,” said Bohl, who added seven rebounds, an assist and a steal to go with her 20 points. “Obviously there’s a lot at stake in these games but we enjoy that and embrace it and really look forward to the competition.”
A large contingent of alumni will be on hand, adding greater importance to the occasion.
“Tomorrow’s my favorite day of the year because we’ve got all these alumni coming back that we’re going to celebrate so we can understand where we’ve been as a program, where we are now and where we’re going,” Neumann said. “We want to put on a good show for them. We have a chance to sweep at home and a chance to get a three-game winning streak, so there should be no lack of motivation tomorrow.”