St. Thomas women moving on to Sweet 16

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Senior Hannah Spaulding recorded 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and No. 2-ranked St. Thomas outlasted once-beaten Wisconsin Lutheran, 67-51, in NCAA second-round women's basketball play Saturday night at Schoenecker Arena.

The Tommies (28-1) ran their season win streak to 18 and their home victory streak to 25. They advance to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 round for the fifth year in a row.

St. Thomas closed the first half on a 12-0 run over the final 3:03 on the clock to build a 38-20 halftime lead. Kelsie Cox sank two treys to fuel that late burst, and Lucia Renikoff had a late steal, then banked in a jumper at the buzzer.

The Warriors (27-2) never folded. They used a 12-2 run to pull within 41-33 with 2:31 left in the third quarter. But St. Thomas Bobbbi Brendefur knocked down her only shot of the game, an open 3-pointer, to push the lead back to 11.Moments later, Sarah Krynski made her only shot of the game, also a trey, to push the lead to 14.

Wisconsin Lutheran was unable to get the deficit under 11 points the rest of the game.

Kelly Tramburg led the Warriors with 13 points; Lexi Reinke added 11 points and six boards; Maddie Cruz had nine of her 11 points in the second half. The Warriors' only lead of the night was at 3-0. They made just 3-of-14 shots behind the arc and closed at 42 percent on the night.

For St. Thomas, Kaylie Brazil scored 11 points, and Cox and Kaia Porter each scored 10 points. The Tommies outrebounded WLC, 33-22, and shot 53 percent from the floor.

The Tommies will learn Sunday if they will host the Sweet 16 round March 8-9 at Schoenecker Arena, but whoever hosts will have four top-13 ranked teams in a blockbuster weekend. Next Friday, once-beaten St. Thomas will play No. 6-ranked Amherst (25-3), while No. 11-ranked Wartburg (26-3) faces No. 13-ranked UW-Oshkosh (26-3).