SMU at Saint Benedict / Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006


Saint Benedict
Saint Mary's
Last Year: Game 1 / Last Year: Game 2 / Box Score
Game Highlights: Amy Saufferer, SMU: 9 points; Alyse Coates, SMU: 9 points; Darby Noreen, CSB: 16 points; Ellie Boone, CSB: 11 points

Cardinals' first-half struggles costly in 77-54 loss to St. Benedict

Photos of SMU-Saint Benedict
game / click here
WINONA, Minn. — For Shawn Stimmel, his inaugural season as the Saint Mary's University women's basketball team's head coach will be a year of firsts.

There was that first win — a 56-43 triumph vs. Willamette in the Cardinals' season-opener.

Then came his first loss — a 52-38 decision vs. Lewis & Clark in Game 2 of the Bon Appetite Classic.

Stimmel and the Cardinals suffered their first conference loss last Wednesday, a disappointing 86-35 setback at the hands of St. Thomas.

And, unfortunately for the SMU head coach, Saturday's game vs. Saint Benedict resulted in another first — the Cardinals' first two-game losing streak.

The Blazers jumped out to a commanding 48-18 first-half advantage and never looked back in cruising to a 77-54 victory over the Cardinals at the SMU Gym.

"We did not play very well in the first half, and when you are going up against a team as good as (Saint Benedict), you can't afford to struggle from the field the way we did in the first half," said Stimmel, whose team made just 8 of 24 shots, while the Blazers knocked down 19 of their 28 first-half shots, building leads en route to their commanding 30-point advantage. "I thought we came out and played much better in the second half, but when you are down by as many as we were, it's pretty tough to come back."

Amy Saufferer (Morristown, Minn.) and Alyse Coates (West St. Paul, Minn.) led the Cardinals' offense charge, scoring nine points each, while CSB got a game-high 16 points from Darby Noreen and 11 from Ellie Boone.

"I'm encouraged by the way we kept working — the ladies never quit," said Stimmel. "We talked at halftime about the iimportance of going out and continuing to work on executing the things (the coaches) are asking them to do, and they did that, which is definitely a positive step."