Red-hot Mayo tops Albert Lea girls, 46-34

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 20, 2005

By Jim Lutgens. Tribune Sports Editor

ROCHESTER &045; The most improved Big Nine Conference girls’ basketball team from last season met the squad that’s shown the most improvement during the season.

The hotter team prevailed.

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Rochester Mayo, which has won 10 of 11 games since starting 1-13, handed the Albert Lea Tigers a 46-34 setback in the final game of the regular season at Rochester Friday night.

“The girls played hard and gave it everything they had,” said Tigers coach Karol Hansen, whose team finished 7-11 in the Big Nine and is 9-16 overall. “We’ve just got to play more consistently, play all four quarters, especially this time of the season.”

Inconsistent shooting cost the Tigers a chance to take an early lead in a game that was close until the fourth quarter. Tied 6-6 after one quarter, the Tigers trailed 17-16 at halftime and 33-28 at the end of the third period.

“Both times we played Mayo, field-goal percentage has been the difference,” said Hansen. “We just missed a lot of easy shots. We’re doing a good job of getting in position for good shots, but for some reason we did not finish it tonight. Our execution is getting better.”

Another trouble spot was the free-throw line, where the Tigers were 7-for-14. Mayo held a 35-33 edge on the boards. The Tigers had 22 turnovers to the Spartans’ 19.

The Tigers also lost their scoring leader, Hali Hendrickson, to a sprained ankle in the third quarter. She returned to the game but was not 100 percent, according to Hansen.

Hendrickson finished with eight points, seven rebounds and two assists while her sister, Niki, had six points and three rebounds. Others: Ellie Holmen eight points, four rebounds, two steals; Liz Thompson six points, three rebounds; Cara Thorn four points, four rebounds, five assists, four steals, one block; Allison Arnold two points, two rebounds, two assists; Leah Walters two steals, one rebound, one assist.

“Mayo has one of the better physical teams in the Big Nine, and Niki, Hali, Liz and Ellie did a good job banging with those girls inside without getting frustrated. You don’t get a lot of second

opportunities against Mayo.”

The Tigers, seeded fifth in the Section 1AAA tournament, get a third opportunity against arch-rival Austin Wednesday when they travel to face the fourth-seeded Packers at 7 p.m. The Tigers were seeded lower than Austin despite finishing with a better record and defeating the Packers 46-35 last Tuesday. Austin won the earlier meeting 61-53.

(Contact Jim Lutgens at or 379-3437.)