Career day

It's no coincidence that perhaps the two best performances in Katie Winkelman's career at Minnesota Duluth have been against St. Cloud State. St. Cloud has been one of the top teams in NCAA Division II in recent years and features one of the best...

It's no coincidence that perhaps the two best performances in Katie Winkelman's career at Minnesota Duluth have been against St. Cloud State.

St. Cloud has been one of the top teams in NCAA Division II in recent years and features one of the best post players in the nation in Duluth native Erika Quigley.

Winkelman's first career performance came against St. Cloud when she scored a career-high 29 points on Jan. 7, 2006, nearly a year to the day of her encore performance -- Saturday at Romano Gymnasium against the 22nd-ranked Huskies. Winkelman scored 28 points and surpassed 1,000 for her career in a 76-65 victory before 868 spectators in the Bulldogs' North Central Conference home opener.

Winkelman often goes against the 6-foot-2 Quigley and relishes the matchup.

"I was definitely up for this game,'' said the 6-foot-1 Winkelman, who became the 16th Bulldog to top 1,000 points by converting a 3-point play with 6:20 remaining in the game. "I really enjoy going against St. Cloud. Quigley is one of the best, and I enjoy going against good post players. It makes it really fun.''


The teams exchanged leads early before the Bulldogs (10-5 overall, 1-1 in the NCC) took a 17-16 lead with 9:54 remaining in the first half. They never trailed again, although St. Cloud (11-5, 0-2) cut the margin to two points on five occasions in the second half, with the last one coming on a layup by Kayla Rengel with 4:04 to play. Winkelman, however, answered with three straight baskets to extinguish the threat.

St. Cloud, which shot a paltry 2-for-16 from 3-point range, couldn't catch up despite shooting 54.8 percent in the second half. UMD played smart basketball, only turning the ball over four times in the second half and making 5 of 12 3-pointers. Rebounding is what Stromme calls the Bulldogs' Achilles' heel, but UMD held a 38-33 advantage on Saturday.

"We made some mental mistakes and gave them a couple easy looks, but overall, when you look at our effort over the entire 40 minutes, I think that was probably our best game of the season,'' said UMD coach Dave Stromme. "When we forced them to play against our set defense, they had a hard time scoring.''

Both teams went with a short bench and relied almost exclusively on their starters for scoring.

Besides Winkelman's 28, Katy Freeman (13), Justine Axtell (10) and Alissa Pauly (10) were in double figures for UMD. Pauly tied a career high with 10 assists, while Axtell added nine rebounds and four assists before fouling out.

Winkelman, a senior from Morris, Minn., now has 1,006 career points.

"The teams that play directly behind Katie allow her to use her moves and take the ball to the basket without somebody really bumping her,'' Stromme said. "Katie was going against a player I think is the best in Division II. She took that as a challenge and she responded.''

Quigley finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Rengel added 19 points but had eight of St. Cloud's 18 turnovers. UMD made it difficult for Quigley to get the basketball, holding her to 13 shots.


"This will probably be the last time I play here,'' Quigley said. "This is where my older brother [Josh] played, and I always enjoy playing here, win or lose.''

St. Cloud, which started the year ranked No. 4 in Division II, has advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight the past two seasons but is still seeking to fill a void in leadership and perimeter shooting after the graduation of starters Sascha Hansen and April Carlson.

The Huskies now find themselves in a 0-2 rut after conference losses at North Dakota on Thursday and UMD on Saturday.

"First of all, you have to remember we haven't been home since Wednesday, and secondly, UMD played a great game,'' said St. Cloud coach Lori Ulferts. "They were in our face all game.''

Ulferts had a long talk with her players in the locker room following the loss. She wouldn't elaborate on the conversation, but said, "Put it this way: I wouldn't want to be our next opponent.''

UMD can relate after falling 71-65 at Minnesota State-Mankato on Thursday.

"After that Mankato game, we were like, 'Watch out, St. Cloud,''' Winkelman said. "That lit a fire in us. We had lost three of four games and were sick of losing, so we came out against St. Cloud playing to win.''

When asked if that was the Bulldogs' best game, Winkelman laughed and said, "We'll see. I think there will be more to come.''



Katie Tacheny 2-6 0-0 5, Shannon Francis 0-8 0-0 0, Jackie Carlson 4-8 4-4 12, Kayla Rengel 9-14 0-2 19, Erika Quigley 9-13 6-7 24, Kaylan King 0-1 0-0 0, Krystal Scott 0-2 0-0 0, Heather Miller 1-3 0-1 2, Danielle Ellison-Yan 1-2 1-2 3, Megan Foley 0-1 0-0 0, Shayla Lange 0-1 0-0 0.


Katie Winkelman 9-16 8-11 28, Katy Freeman 5-9 3-3 13, Alissa Pauly 1-4 8-11 10, Justine Axtell 4-10 0-0 10, Kim Wagers 3-7 0-0 6, Stephanie Reiter 1-1 1-2 4, Monica Mayry 0-0 0-1 0, Jordanne Even 1-2 0-0 2, Kelly Kavanagh 0-0 0-0 0, Jacquie Hartman 1-6 1-2 3.

Halftime -- UMD 32, SCS 26. 3-point goals -- SCS 2-16 (Tacheny 1-3, Francis 0-5, Carlson 0-2, Rengel 1-3, King 0-1, Miller 0-1, Foley 0-1); UMD 5-12 (Winkelman 2-4, Freeman 0-1, Pauly 0-1, Axtell 2-5, Reiter 1-1). Rebounds -- SCS 33 (Quigley 15); UMD 28 (Axtell 9). Assists --SCS 14 (Rengel 4); UMD 18 (Pauly 10). Fouls -- SCS 22, UMD 18.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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