Tommie senior Lucia Renikoff saved her 50th career double-figure game for a big moment. The St. Thomas guard scored 17 points, including a clinching free throw with :02 left, as the No. 4-ranked St. Thomas women's basketball team held off Bethel, 66-62, Wednesday night at Schoenecker Arena.
Senior Hannah Spaulding added 15 points and 15 rebounds, and junior Sarah Krynski made her lone two points count as she sank two late free throws for the host Tommies (15-1 overall, 9-0 MIAC). Kaylie Brazil added 13 points, and Madi Radtke scored eight points off the bench.
The Purple extended their home win streak to 17 and made it 63 wins in a row over conference opponents. Coach Ruth Sinn's team has held its last 15 opponents under 67 points.
Taite Anderson had 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Bethel (11-5, 5-4), while Hannah Johnson had 14 points and nine rebounds. All four Royals losses this season have come in MIAC play against 15-1 St. Thomas and 13-3 Augsburg by a combined margin of 22 points.
Bethel's pressure helped create 21 St. Thomas turnovers, but the winners shot 50 percent from the floor and had a 39-24 rebounding advantage. Bethel had only nine turnovers but shot just 39 percent.
The Toms trailed 36-35 at halftime but outscored the Royals 17-7 in the third quarter and never trailed again.
The Royals cut the deficit to 62-60 with 58 seconds to play on Elizabeth Schwarz' layup. St. Thomas' Kaylie Brazil made one of two free throws, and Schwarz scored again with 22 seconds to play for a 63-62 score.
After a quick Bethel foul, Krynski sank both free throws with 20 seconds to go to push the lead to three.
After a time out, Bethel looked for a tying shot in the corner, but the ball was knocked away and Spaulding gained possession in the lane and called timeout. Renikoff was fouled on the inbounds play and made the first of two free throws with :02 remaining.
At the halfway point of the 18-game MIAC race, the Tommies hold a one-game lead over Augsburg and a three-game lead on St. Mary's.