Austin's Mer Gach drives against Mankato West's Mackenzie Franke during the first half Friday night in Ove Berven Gym. -- Eric Johnson/

Packer girls fall to Mankato West

Published 10:25pm Friday, February 8, 2013
Austin's Gabby Wagner drives past Mankato West's Malorie Veroeven during the first half Friday night in Ove Berven Gym.

The Packer girls basketball team continued its struggles at home as it lost 60-45 to Mankato West in Ove Berven Gym Friday.

The Packers (9-12 overall, 6-9 Big Nine) are now 2-6 at home and 6-6 away from their home court.

“Right now we’re not playing very well in our own gym. It doesn’t make sense,” Austin head coach Todd Johnson said.

Friday’s game came down to West’s point guard freshman Lexi Schoper and their senior post player Cara Christiansen. The duo provided most of the spark for the Scarlets (6-13 overall, 5-9 Big Nine) throughout the night.

When they both picked up their fourth foul with 10 minutes left, Austin went on a 10-3 run to tie the game at 37-37 with 7:37 left. Then the Scarlets put Schoper and Christiansen back in with seven minutes left and they responded with a 12-0 run to make it 49-37 with 5:04 left in the game.

Austin never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

“We had our chance when they had their main players with four fouls,” Johnson said. “We got to within a point and we had the opportunity to go ahead and we missed a couple of free throws and shots.”

West, which had 17 turnovers, struggled with ball control when Schoper was on the bench, but the Packers couldn’t draw the fifth foul on the point guard.

“We talked about going at her and trying to get her out of the game, because then you can go man against them and attack them,” Johnson said.

Austin freshman Shayley Vesel had six points, seven rebounds and three steals, Mer Gach had eight points and eight rebounds and Alex Hansen and Jenna Svoboda each had nine points and seven rebounds.

Austin's Shayley Vesel goes in for a layup past Mankato West's Mackenzie Franke during the first half Friday night in Ove Berven Gym.

West 27 33 — 60

Austin 20 25 — 45

Austin scoring: Jenna Svoboda, 9; Alex Hansen, 9; Mer Gach, 8; Steph Justice, 8; Shayley Vesel, 6; Jocelyn Sheehan, 4; free throws: 52 percent (12-for-23); rebounds: 43 (Gach, 8); turnovers: 16

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