Her coach said Krista Stabler is not a natural pass-first point guard.
Tim Healy would like Stabler, his top scorer, to assert her floor leadership for his Saint Martin’s women’s basketball team.
He’ll accept her taking over the whole game in its final minute.
Stabler intercepted a Western Oregon inbounds pass with 10.2 seconds left, and her two subsequent free throws sealed a 48-47 Saints victory Saturday night in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference game at Marcus Pavilion.
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“I’m trying to get her to take control of the tempo,” Healy said of Stabler, a 5-foot-6 junior. “She had some big shots, a big steal. She’s a hard-working kid.”
Stabler’s basket and free throw with 44 seconds remaining, coupled with teammate Jordyn Richardson 3-pointer moments before, gave the Saints their first lead in the final five minutes, a lead they never gave back.
Stabler led all scorers with 11 points as the Saints overcame a sluggish start to improve to 7-11 overall, 4-6 in GNAC play.
Western Oregon’s Sydney Azorr hit consecutive short bank shots to give the Wolves a 22-21 lead at the end of a first half during which neither team could separate. Seven Saints scored in the first half, none more than four points, and nine turnovers hurt their continuity.
“We were definitely flat,” Healy said. “We just didn’t have any rhythm.”
Saint Martin’s played with notably more energy after intermission, and suddenly it was Western Oregon turning the ball over in the face of a ball-hawking Saints defense, which had eight of their 12 steals in the second half.
A 3-pointer by Richardson and a baseline jumper and breakaway layup by Stabler after her steal started the Saints on a 13-4 run that resulted in a 34-26 lead.
The visiting Wolves responded with 11 straight points to build a slim lead they would nurture until Stabler’s late heroics.
Dana Goularte led Western Oregon (5-13, 2-8) with 10 points.
Richardson, a senior from Tumwater, contributed nine timely points for Saint Martin’s. Elin Johannsson, a 6-1 freshman from Gothenburg, Sweden, scored eight, including three consecutive strong baskets in the late going when the Saints were otherwise struggling.
“She played some big minutes,” Healy said of Johansson.
Healy said the Saints head into their final seven GNAC games in good position to contend for one of six conference postseason slots.
“We have something to play for, for sure,” he said.
Saint Martin's 75, Montana State Billings 64: Saint Martin’s coach Michael Ostlund will take a 50-point half anytime, but especially when it ends a seven-game losing streak.
The Saints fell behind 33-25 on a MSU Billings 3-pointer to open the second half, but they chipped away and finally pulled away from the Yellowjackets in GNAC men’s basketball at Marcus Pavilion. The Saints won for the first time since Jan. 1, also over MSU Billings.
“We were fortunate to only be down five,” Ostlund said of the Saints’ 30-25 halftime deficit.
Billings had 12 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
The Saints (6-15, 3-8) remain in contention for postseason play.
“I thought our defense in the second half really picked up,” Ostlund said. “It got us momentum, it got us some easy baskets, and guys stepped up and hit some big shots.”
Tyler Copp, who scored 14 points, hit two free throws to give the Saints a 44-42 lead, and they never gave it up. Trey Ingram and Cameron Chatwin scored 15 apiece to lead Saint Martin’s.
Marc Matthews was 5 for 6 on 3-pointers to lead Billings with 21 points.