Here's a little bit about several topics on the St. Thomas sports spectrum.
Computer polls really like St. Thomas Men's Golf and Tommie Women's Basketball.
Coach Scott Proshek's golf team has been at No. 4 in the national coaches poll, but has surged to No. 1 in the GolfStat computer rankings. Last October, the Toms won the 10-team MIAC Championships then beat 13 nationally-ranked teams to win the Golfweek Preview tourney. In fall 2015, St. Thomas won the Golfweek tournament and also landed No. 1 in the GolfStat power rankings.
St. Thomas heads south for spring break and has a March 30 dual meet in Palm Springs. It has secured a spot in the May 15-18 NCAA Championship meet.
Tommie Women's Basketball has slowly climbed up the Division III polls and now is No. 6 by D3hoops.com. But Coach Ruth Sinn's team has moved to No. 3 in the Hero Sports power rankings.
Latest Women's Milestone
Tommie Women's Basketball reached another victory milestone last weekend with a 2-0 start in the NCAA playoffs. St. Thomas' 81-51 defeat of Chapman and 68-62 win over Chicago were victory No. 50 and 51 in the NCAA tournament in program history.
Out of 800-plus Division III men's and women's basketball programs, only five have surpassed 50 NCAA tournament victories. Here are the all-time D-III tournament wins leaders (through March 3 games):
- 72, Washington (Mo.) women
- 62, Scranton (Pa.) women
- 54, Illinois Wesleyan men
- 52, Wittenberg (Ohio) men
- 51, St. Thomas women
- 47, Williams (Mass.) men
St. Thomas is believed to be the lone Division III women's program to have three different head coaches lead them to a Final Four (Ted Riverso, Tricia Dornisch and Sinn).
The 2017-18 Tommies are also one of just three Division III women's hoops programs to make the NCAA Sweet 16 playoff round six or more times over the last seven seasons. Amherst and Tufts have made the Sweet 16 all seven of those years.
Riding a 20-game win streak, No. 6-ranked St. Thomas (27-2) plays Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Waverly, Iowa against East Texas Baptist (24-6).
In last Friday's 81-51 win over Chapman, the Tommies nearly had seven players score in double figures, yet nobody scored more than a dozen points. St. Thomas' top eight scorers had 12, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9 and 6 points for 78 of UST's 81 points.
A different Tommie led Sinn's team in scoring each time during a five-game span from Feb. 14 to March 2.
In Saturday's tight 68-62 win over No. 9-ranked Chicago, Tommie guard Kaylie Brazil sank a career-high four treys without a miss.
In four postseason games (all wins), the Tommies are averaging a 19-9 advantage in bench points, while making 45-of-50 at the foul line and 39 percent from 3-point range. In that same span on defense they have helped limit teams to 53 points a contest and 32-percent shooting from the floor.
Miscellaneous Women's Hoops Stats
The Tommies have moved up to having the 16th toughest schedule among Division III women. They are 8-1 so far against 20-win teams.
St. Thomas' 20-game win streak is the fifth longest current streak among 400-plus Division III women's programs, and its 29-game road win streak ranks No. 2 nationally. UST's 54-game conference win streak ranks No. 3, while its 11-game home win streak ranks 21st.
Freshman forward Kaia Porter is averaging 10.5 points and 3.0 boards off the bench in UST's 4-0 postseaosn run thus far.
This story in Football Scoop.com helps show how successful the St. Thomas defense was last season in national comparisons in the team's 11-2 finish.
A Lot of Trips
If you are scoring at home, in the month of March alone St. Thomas will have teams or athletes competing in seven different outside states:
- Iowa (WBB, baseball);
- Indiana (swim-dive);
- Arizona (softball, women's golf);
- Florida (baseball, softball);
- South Carolina (tennis);
- Alabama (track and field);
- California (men's golf).
Gene's Blog is a sports column penned by UST sports information director Gene McGivern. Gene is working his 24th season at St. Thomas and 30th overall in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the MIAC and Division III sports.
If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at firstname.lastname@example.org