MOORHEAD, Minn. (Concordia) -- Concordia held off a late surge from St. Catherine and came away with a 56-49 win to claim their first conference victory of the season.
The Cobbers built up a 10-point lead with 5-minutes to play in the fourth quarter but then watched as the Wildcats cut the margin to four points on a pair of occasions in the final 2-minutes of play before getting clutch free throw makes to win by seven points.
Concordia snaps a two-game losing streak and is now 4-3 in all games. CC is 1-1 in conference play. St. Catherine loses for the second straight league game and is now 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC.
While the Cobber offense struggled from outside of 15 feet it was their defense that helped get the win. Concordia forced 25 turnovers and turned that into a 23-14 edge in points off of turnovers to secure the victory.
Concordia's defense held the Wildcats to a single point, and no made field goals for the first nine minutes of the game. The Cobbers, who never trailed in the 40-minute contest, led 9-1 with 50-seconds left to go in the first quarter before St. Catherine made their first field goal of the game and eventually cut the lead to four points at the quarter beak at 9-5.
The Cobbers' pressure defense limited St. Catherine to just 7.7% (1-for-13) shooting from 3-point range and 34.8% (16-for-46) from the floor. The Wildcats went 16-for-25 (64.0%) from the free throw line.
Concordia didn't light the nets on fire on offense but were slightly better than St. Catherine. The Cobbers made one more field goal than the Wildcats and shot 34.0% (17-for-50) from the floor. CC had a 17.7% (3-for-17) from long range. Like the Wildcats, Concordia also attempted 25 free throws but made 19 to finish at a 76.0% clip.
A pair of juniors led the Cobber offensive attack. Post player Kirstin Simmons earned her second career double-double as she scored 14 points and collected a game-high 10 rebounds. She was 4-for-7 from the field and a clutch 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Guard Jamie Mentzer also collected 14 points but added a career-high seven steals. Her previous career-high theft total was three. Mentzer was 4-for-6 from the field and 6-for-8 from the foul line. Sje also added three assists and three rebounds.
The only other player in double figures in scoring for Concordia was sophomore Mira Ellefson who put up 10 points to go along with four rebounds. She had a clutch driving basket late in the game to help push the lead from five points to seven with just over 2-minutes to play.