NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College women's basketball team ended its tough non-conference schedule on a high note Monday night.
The Knights outscored Iowa Wesleyan by six points in both halves as they went on to defeat the Tigers 55-43.
MLC went into the contest with a 1-9 overall record looking to end a six-game slide before the holiday break.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Martin Luther College's Alex Anthon drives to the net as Karen Orrick of Iowa Wesleyan College defends on the play during the first half Monday at MLC in New Ulm.
Alex Anthon led the Knights with 13 points and five rebounds while Hannah Rothe earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Hannah Hackbarth and Brittney Gossen scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, and both of them grabbed five rebounds.
Hackbarth was named Upper Midwest Athletic Conference player of the week last week averaging 18.7 points per game the previous three games while shooting 48 percent from beyond the arc.
Hackbarth shot 3-for-10 from downtown in Monday's game and her first 3-pointer came four minutes in to give the Knights a 10-2 lead early on.
Neither team scored for the next three and a half minutes before IW tacked on two free throws. Hannah Rothe ended MLC's drought with a free throw of her own with 12:26 to go and a lay-up with 7:59 left gave the Knights their biggest lead of the half, 17-8.
Hackbarth and Gossen each added a 3-pointer in the final minutes of the half and the knights took a 28-22 lead heading into the break.
IW pulled within one point with 12:03 left to play and they could never find away to take the lead.
However, the Tigers stuck around and found themselves down by just three points, 43-40 with 3:30 to go before the Knights stepped on the gas and closed the game out on a 12-3 run.
A 3 and consecutive baskets from Anthon quickly increased the lead to 50-40 and erased all chance for a Tiger comeback.
"We've been making progress all along in these tough games and we finally put 40 minutes together defensively tonight," MLC head coach Larry Czer said. "I thought our defense really stepped up - our offense has some glitches to work out. I think our offense was much more patient, we hit five or six three's which really gave us a launch."
MLC will begin UMAC play after the holiday break in Mankato against Bethany Lutheran College.