Senior All-America Hannah Spaulding had 25 points and 17 rebounds in 36 minutes to lead No. 3-ranked St. Thomas Women's Basketball to Saturday's 73-54 win over No. 24-ranked Augsburg in the MIAC playoff championship clash at Schoenecker Arena.
Sophomore Kaia Porter scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half. Kaylie Brazil chipped in nine points and eight rebounds. Lucia Renikoff scored nine of her 10 points in the fourth quarter. Renikoff's trey started a game-closing 17-5 run over the final 7:06.
Coach Ruth Sinn's Tommie squads have won eight consecutive conference playoff crowns, a first for any MIAC men's and women's program. In taking the league's auotmatic berth, St. Thomas is in the NCAA playoffs for the 26th time, all in the last 36 years, with a 51-25 all-time record.
St. Thomas (26-1) ran their win streak over conference opponents to 74, their home victory streak to 24, and their season win streak to 16. Since February 2010, they are 21-1 in MIAC playoff games, with nine of a possible 10 championships.
St. Thomas led just 29-25 at halftime, then shot 65 percent from the floor in the second half (15-of-23). The Tommies used a 43-27 rebounding advantage and only committed 11 turnovers. They made just 3-of-15 from 3-point range over the first three frames before Renikoff made both of her tries in the final quarter.
Junior Tamira McLemore led Augsburg with 19 points. The Auggies (22-5) led just once at 1-0, but they hung close deep into the final minutes.
Augsburg is hopeful of receiving an at-large invite into the Division III playoffs as it's putting together a record season for wins and accomplishments. The Auggies' lone three losses in their last 16 games have come against once-beaten St. Thomas.