By Patrick Moore, Madonna (Mich.) Director of Sports Information
DETROIT, Mich. – Behind a career-high 24 points from senior Carrie Kloster (Ida, Mich. / Ida) the Madonna University (Mich.) women’s basketball team upset NCAA Division I Detroit, 86-76, on Monday night (Dec. 30) inside Calihan Hall. The win is the first for the MU women over a NCAA Division I team in program history and snapped MU’s four-game losing streak.
Kloster went 9-of-15 from the floor, including knocking down six triples while pulling down a career-high 12 rebounds, including 11 on the defensive end of the floor. As a team the Crusaders shot 53.8 percent (28-of-52) from the floor and 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from beyond the arc. MU also forced UDM into 13 turnovers and converted those into 16 points.
“I am not a zone guy as anybody will tell you during the eight years I’ve been here,” MU coach Carl Graves said. “But today it was the defense for us and we stuck with it. It was working and it gave them some trouble. They hit some perimeter shots. We’ll take those, but we wanted to keep them from driving to the basket.”
In addition to Kloster’s double-double, junior Chelsea Williams (Livonia, Mich. / Franklin) added 18 points, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers while going 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Classmate Rachel Melcher (Sterling Heights, Mich. / Marian Catholic) added 13 points and a career-high nine assists.
“My teammates did a really good job getting me the ball,” Kloster said. “(Rachel) Melcher penetrated and was able to kick it out to me. She did a really good job penetrating and creating the shot.”
Williams broke a 2-2 tie with her first triple of the night and 18:09 left in the first half as MU would never trail in the contest. The Crusaders pushed their lead out to 10, 17-7, with 13:47 to go in the half as part of a 15-5 run. Kloster knocked down her first triple to propel the run that saw MU get six points from Williams as well and take its first double-digit lead of the night.
The Titans got within four on five occasions the remainder of the half, the final one coming with 7:30 left and the Crusaders holding a 28-24 lead. The Crusaders responded with a 4-0 run with a Kloster jumper and a steal and score from Melcher to reestablish an eight-point cushion, 32, 24, with 6:50 remaining in the half.
With MU on top by seven, 34-27, Kloster and Williams hit back-to-back triples to extend the MU lead to 13, 40-27, the largest lead of the night for the Royal Blue and Gold to that point. UDM pulled within 11 with 1:04 left in the half but a pair of free throws from Williams with 43 seconds left sent MU to the locker room with a 13-point lead, 42-29.
“We stayed composed and have been working on press breakers all year long, so we were ready for their press,” Williams said. “We were all able to break it. Towards the end we were looking to manage the clock and work the ball around, move it and make sure they were able to move. Their trap was coming and we knew that.”
Coming out of intermission the two sides traded baskets for the first 11 or so minutes until a 6-0 UDM run took what had been an 11-point MU lead down to just five, 67-62 with 8:49 to go in the game.
A basket in the lane from Williams broke the UDM run and started a 12-6 Madonna run that included six points from Melcher along with two more from Williams to give the Crusaders a 79-68 lead with 3:29 left in regulation.
UDM was forced to foul to try and extend the game and MU took advantage, knocking down five foul shots over the final 1:51 to seal the 86-76 victory.
The Crusaders return to the court on Saturday (Jan. 4), traveling to Siena Heights for a 5:30 p.m. tip against the Saints in the first half of a women’s and men’s doubleheader at the SHU Fieldhouse.