Kohawks knock off #21 Wisconsin-River Falls in NCAA opener

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SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Coe College trailed for just :40 Friday night, as they beat 21st-ranked Wisconsin-River Falls 72-61 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.  Three Kohawks scored in double-figures, including two with 21 points.

Coe led 9-5 with 17:10 to play in the first half on a jumper by sophomore Mary Halvorson (Waterville, Iowa/Waukon) before the Falcons took their first lead of the game with a 6-0 run in the next 1:52.  The Kohawks quickly regained the lead, as they exchanged baskets and never trailed by more than two points.  Wisconsin-River Falls cut the lead to one with 6:55 to play in the first half, but another jumper by Halvorson sparked a 15-4 run to close the first half, as Coe led 32-20 at the break.  

The Falcons weren't going to go away easy, as they scored 12 of the first 16 points in the second half, cutting Coe's lead to four with 15:28 to play.  Senior Kayla Waskow(Dunkerton, Iowa/Dunkerton) hit a layup with 15:08 to play, followed by back-to-back baskets by sophomore Mackenzie Reed (Iowa City, Iowa/West) to put Coe back up by nine with 13:17 to play.

Wisconsin-River Falls made one last run at the Kohawks, as they went on a 10-3 run with 11:50 to play, cutting Coe's lead to 47-45 with 9:45 to play.  The Kohawks responded with an 11-3 run of their own over the next 3:44, as they took a 58-48 lead with 5:12 to play.  During the run, Coe used its last timeout with 8:04 to play.  In the final 5:12, the Falcons never got closer than seven points.  Coe's final six points came from the free throw line in the last 1:24.

Reed and Waskow led the Kohawks with 21 points apiece, a career-high for Reed.  Freshman Megan Hayes (Bettendorf, Iowa/Bettendorf) added 13 points, while Halvorson had eight.  Hayes went over 300 points for the season, while Waskow broke the school record for career free throws with 295.  She was 11-of-14 from the charity stripe on the night.  Alise Holst led the Falcons with 18 poitns and 10 rebounds, while Tiffany Gregorich had 17.

Hayes grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, with Waskow, senior Leslie Ware (Des Moines, Iowa/Johnston) and senior Kelsey Jipp (Bettendorf, Iowa/Pleasant Valley) had four boards apiece.  

Ware had a game-high eight assists, with Waskow and Halvorson dropping in three.  Jipp finished with two.  Hayes blocked four shots, as she moved into second in the single-season blocks list with 51.  Hayes moved into fourth on the single-season rebounds list with 208.

The Kohawks shot 56.3 percent from the field, a season-high, while holding the Falcons to 29 percent.  Coe was 14-of-26 in the first half, while Wisconsin-River Falls was 6-of-26.  Coe continued its streak of a 3-pointer in every game this season, as they were 1-of-4 on the night.  The Kohawks improved to 21-7 on the year, the second most wins in school history to last season's 26-4 team.

Coe will return to action on Saturday night, as they play 12th-ranked St. Thomas University at 7 p.m.  The Tommies are 27-1 on the year and have won 27-straight games.