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Spaulding soars, Women take control of MIAC

Senior All-America center Hannah Spaulding had career highs with 32 points and 21 rebounds to help No. 3-ranked St. Thomas pull away from second-place Augsburg, 83-68, in MIAC women's basketball play at Schoenecker Arena.

The Tommies (22-1 overall, 16-0 MIAC) secured at least a share of the MIAC championship with two games left. They also pushed their home-court win streak to 21 and their victory streak over conference opponents to 70, second best in all of NCAA women's or men's basketball.

Lucia Renikoff scored 21 points, and Kaylie Brazil added eight points and four assists and the Toms, who had a 40-21 rebounding advantage and survived 20 turnovers.

Spaulding made 12-of-15 shots and leads all NCAA women players in shooting from the floor at 71 percent.

Spaulding, a first team D3hoops.com All-America selection last season, was simply unstoppable on Saturday, as she hit 12 of her 15 shot attempts and had as many rebounds as the entire Augsburg team. "It's the most fun when you don't even know you're doing it and it comes easy to you," Spaulding said. 

"I don't think I've ever had anyone with a stat line like that," said Tommies coach Ruth Sinn, who recently won her 400th career game. "That's unbelievable. And she's passing them up. But she's just so efficient." 

Junior Tamira McLemore had a 21-point, eight-rebound, six-steal game for Augsburg (19-4, 14-2), which came into the week one spot out of the national top-25. Coach Ted Riverso's Auggies have already posted a seven-win improvement from last season, and needed a victory here to stay in position to win or share the program's first MIAC championship.

The Auggies hung around all game, and pulled within 56-51 with 8:45 to go. But the Tommies closed the contest on a 27-17 run, thanks in part to 13 points from Spaulding in the frame.

St. Thomas plays at home Wednesday night against St. Ben's, and travels to St. Mary's next Saturday.