Beginning a 10 game stretch that Head Coach Toby Wynn considers “One of the toughest of my coaching career”, the Seward County Lady Saints came out of their first two battles smelling like a rose as they hammered the Defending Division II National Champion Monroe Lady Mustangs 86-63 Thursday and followed that up with a 62-56 win over Tallahassee on Friday in Florida to remain unbeaten on the 2011-2012 campaign.

After flying into the Sunshine State on Wednesday, the Lady Saints much anticipated battle with #6 Monroe went off without a hitch on Thursday and was a back and forth battle between the two perennial powerhouses early on with the Lady ‘Stangs leading 9-8. Seward bounced back with a 6-0 run to take a 15-8 lead and never looked back again. They extended their lead to 25-16 midway through the first half and scored 24 points in the final seven minutes of the half to take a commanding 56-27 lead into the locker rooms at half. Seward’s 29 point halftime lead came thanks in large part to 24 first half points from Ashlynn Knoll as well as a defensive effort that saw Monroe shoot just 30% in the period. The teams played even through the first nine minutes of the second half and the Lady Saints remained in front big with a 71-43 lead. The Lady Mustangs showed a little bit more fight in the final stages of the game and outscored Seward down the stretch but it was far too little, too late, as the Lady Saints came out with an uneventful 86-63 win. Knoll finished with a career best 34 points and 14 rebounds in the win while Mariah Lee posted a double-double of her own with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of work. Charmaine Burns and Anete Kirsteine each had a pair of three pointers and 10 points overall for the Lady Saints as they came away with the 23 point win.
BOX SCORE
Unexpectedly, the Lady Saints Friday afternoon matinee against Tallahassee proved to be much more of a challenge than their Thursday win over the 6th ranked Lady Mustangs. Both Seward and Tallahassee struggled on the offensive end of the floor early on and had combined for just 13 points six and a half minutes into the game where the Lady Saints led 7-6. Seward picked up the pace while leaving the Lady Eagles behind to take a 14-8 lead midway through the first half. A pair of Payton Flemming three’s in the final 10 minutes of the half paced Seward as they ended the first half with a 29-24 lead over Tallahassee. As the second half got underway, the teams continued to trade bucket for bucket and the Lady Saints remained in front 36-30. Five straight points later on by Tallahassee pulled them even with Seward for the first time since the opening minutes of the contest and the game was tied at 44 with nine minutes remaining. Seward quickly took the lead back and held a 55-49 advantage with just under six minutes to go in the game. With 3:30 left, Seward had built their lead to 58-51 but the Lady Eagles clawed back into things and cut the Lady Saints cushion to just 60-56 as the final minute of regulation ticked down. Seward kept Tallahassee without a basket in their last ditch effort to come from behind and came away with the hard-fought 62-56 win over the Lady Eagles. Knoll again led the Lady Saints with 17 points in the defensive battle while Kirsteine pitched in 13 points to go along with a team high 9 rebounds. Lee scored 12 for the Lady Saints and Flemming added 10, all in the first half, on 4 of 6 shooting in the game. The Lady Saints shot just 33% overall as a team in the contest but did hit 8 of 20 three point attempts, good for 40%. On the other side it wasn’t the same case as Seward held Tallahassee to just 32% shooting and 7% from beyond the arc in the win.
BOX SCORE
Seward remains perfect at 5-0 on the season with the two wins and after the long flight back to the central time zone, the Lady Saints will play host to the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic this Friday and Saturday where they will entertain South Plains on Friday at 6:00 and Frank Phillips at 6:00 on Saturday.