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Willmar runs win streak to eight

WILLMAR -- Alex Lippert scored 19 of her career-high 27 points in the first half and Willmar ex-tended its winning streak to eight straight games Monday with a 58-46 non-conference victory over Marshall.

Lippert made 12-of-16 shots from the field and 3-of-5 free throws off the bench. The 6-3 junior post also grabbed six rebounds and blocked 10 shots.

"Alex would be the first to give credit to her teammates," said Willmar coach Brad Atchison. "A lot of her baskets came after we broke their trap.

Willmar struggled early to pull away from Marshall on Senior Night. Tied 23-23 with 3:20 remaining in the first half, the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run to lead 29-23 at intermission. Aside from Lippert, the rest of the team accounted for only 10 points in the first half.

"(Lippert) had a lot of touch shots around the basket," said Atchison. "She was a real spark on both sides of the ball."

Willmar widened its lead early in the second half on a 13-5 run to make it 42-28 with 10:35 remaining, but was never able to pull away by a comfortable margin as Marshall hit seven 3-pointers in the game.

The win ended a three-game losing streak against Marshall.

Hannah Smith had 12 points for Willmar. Kelsey Evans, who went over the 1,000-point mark for her career last Friday, was held to eight points, all in the second half.

Marshall (3-17) has been playing better of late after an 0-12 start. Before meeting Willmar, the Tigers had won three of their last seven games, including a one-point win over Luverne on Friday night.

Dani Beekman kept Marshall in the game with her outside shooting, hitting four 3-pointers and finishing with 16 points. Kayla Wallerich added 10 points.

Willmar has outscored its opponents by an average of 23.1 points during the winning streak.

Marshall is only the second Section 2AAA foe Willmar plays during the regular season. The Cardinals beat Hutchinson 63-60 on Dec. 9.

Willmar (13-1, 17-3), which leads the Central Lakes Conference now finishes the regular season against four Central Lakes Conference opponents. The Cardinals play at second-place Little Falls (14-5) on Thursday. Willmar nipped the Flyers 53-52 on Jan. 6 in Willmar.

Willmar 58, Marshall 46

Marshall (3-17) 23 23 -- 46

Willmar (17-3) 29 29 -- 58

MARSHALL - 17-39 FG (7-19 3-pt); 5-6 FT; 31 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Kelsey Michelson 3, Kayla Wallerich 10, Dani Beekman 16, Alyssa Christianson 3, Kady Simpson 2, Taylor Miller 2, Amanda Tate 2, Kelsey Verdoes 2, Ashley Schultze 6 ... 3-point shots: Beekman 4, Wallerich 2, Michelson 1 ... Rebound leaders: Wallerich 8, Verdoes 7 ... Assist leaders: Wallerich 2 ... Steal leaders: Wallerich 5, Beekman 4

WILLMAR - 22-51 FG (1-6 3-pt); 13-23 FT; 31 rebounds; 8 fouls ... Scoring: Kelsey Evans 8, Hannah Smith 12, Jena Thompson 1, Emily Nelsen 3, Mariel Aamot 3 Hannah Murphy 4, Alex Lippert 27 ... 3-point shots: Smith 1 ... Rebound leaders: Smith 10, Lippert 6 ... Assist leaders: Thompson 7, Smith 5 ... Steal leaders: Aamot 3, Smith 3, Lippert 3 ... Blocks: Lippert 10, Evans 3