Eagles rebound from flat-footed start

MINNEAPOLIS — A long journey always begins with the first few steps, and Shelby Hanssen figured that her Rochester Lourdes girls basketball team could get where it was headed — if the Eagles would just start moving their feet.

Lourdes rebounded from a flat-footed, stone-cold start and came back to beat St. Peter 49-42 in a Class AA state tournament quarterfinal game Wednesday night at Target Center.

"It was definitely scary when we fell behind early," admitted Hanssen, Lourdes' junior center. "We were all just kind of stunned."

St. Peter did some of its early damage close to the basket, which is Hanssen's territory, returning two offensive rebounds for baskets in the 18-4 game-opening run.

"We just had to start playing hard, and un-nail our feet from the ground," Hanssen said. "It was kind of lack of hustle on our part."


Once the fourth-ranked Eagles got their footwork down and asserted their size and strength near the basket, they were able to nail down their 20th straight win and a spot in the semifinals Friday night against unranked Minnehaha Academy.

"I think once Lourdes settled down their real team showed up, after about four or five minutes," said St. Peter coach Cyndi Raymond said.

Lourdes began its long comeback midway through the first half, and improved rebounding had a lot to do with it. The Eagles tracked down 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and scored 10 points on second-chance baskets.

When Hanssen took a pass from Hannah Anderson and made a layup just before the halftime buzzer, Lourdes had cut St. Peters' lead to 22-21.

Hanssen and Lourdes senior Laura Melquist combined for 11 rebounds and 17 points in the first half, but they were just getting started. They took over near the basket at both ends in the second half and finished with a combined 36 points and 28 rebounds.

Melquist also had seven blocked shots, which had the Saints' heads spinning.

Hanssen and Melquist accounted for Lourdes' last five points on free throws in the closing minute, and each of them had an important defensive rebound following a St. Peter miss.

"When we scouted Lourdes, Melquist wanted to shoot from the outside a lot, and I was thinking 'let her'," said Raymond, the St. Peter coach. "She figured it out real quick that she had to get inside against us, and she did.


"She kind of took over the game. We didn't have any answer for her."

The Eagles have come to expect big numbers from Melquist, but Hanssen has elevated her game since the playoffs began. After averaging 8.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in the regular season, she has scored 35 points and grabbed 36 rebounds in Lourdes' last three playoff wins.

Melquist said she has watched Hanssen improve all season.

"Defensively, if Shelby is on one side of the basket and I'm on the other, one of us is going to get the rebound," Melquist said. "She also does a great job of feeding the ball when we're on offense."

Lourdes took its first lead at 34-32 with eight minutes remaining in the game. The score was tied six more times after that, until the Eagles made St. Peter pay for a series of turnovers.

When reserve guard Hannah Anderson converted a turnover into a transition layup with 1:50 remaining it gave the Eagles the lead they wouldn't relinquish. Turnovers were a big key as St. Peter had 19 and Lourdes just 11.

Anderson converted another steal into a transition layup earlier in the second half, and she finished with a team-high three steals and seven points off the bench. The Eagles had a 9-0 advantage in bench points.

"Anderson did a great job for us," Glass said. "She's just so super quick."


St. Peter, which was in the state tournament for the first time since 1997, finished with a 21-7 record since there is no consolation round for teams that lose in the state quarterfinals.

Lourdes assured itself of at least two more games, and perhaps a shot at the program's ninth state championship. The Eagles are 8-0 in state title games.

Although the season is nearly over, Glass said his team still learned something valuable about itself in the quarterfinal win.

"We can be very confident now that we if we do get behind, we can come back against a good, quality opponent," he said.

Rochester Lourdes 49, St. Peter 42


Melquist, Laura 8-23 5-7 21; Hanssen, Shelby 5-10 5-8 15; Anderson, Hannah 3-7 1-2 7; Wilcken, Jessie 1-3 0-0 2; Daly, Betsey 1-1 0-0 2; Helt, Stephanie 0-8 2-5 2; Neumann, Aubrey 0-2 0-0 0; Muyres, Olivia 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 13-22 49.

ST. PETER (21-7)


Kuiper, Katy 6-10 0-0 15; Raymond, Tailor 2-8 5-6 9; Brown, AnnMarie 3-17 2-2 8; Lager, Alissa 3-7 0-0 6; Dirks, Sidney 2-9 0-2 4; Wilking, Jennifer 0-0 0-0 0; Larson, Danielle 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-53 7-10 42.

Rochester Lourdes.............21   28  —   49

St. Peter.....................22   20  —   42

Three-point goals— Rochester Lourdes 0-10 (Melquist, Laura 0-2; Anderson, Hannah 0-2; Wilcken, Jessie 0-2; Helt, Stephanie 0-1; Neumann, Aubrey 0-2; Muyres, Olivia 0-1), St. Peter 3-11 (Kuiper, Katy 3-5; Brown, AnnMarie 0-5; Lager, Alissa 0-1). Fouled out— Rochester Lourdes-None, St. Peter-None. Rebounds— Rochester Lourdes 41 (Hanssen, Shelby 16), St. Peter 45 (Lager, Alissa 12). Assists— Rochester Lourdes 12 (Anderson, Hannah 3), St. Peter 4 (Kuiper, Katy 1; Brown, AnnMarie 1; Larson, Danielle 1; Raymond, Tailor 1). Total fouls— Rochester Lourdes 11, St. Peter 20. Technical fouls— Rochester Lourdes-None, St. Peter-None.

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