The Stillwater girls’ basketball team placed fifth in the Pacesetter Sweet 16 Tournament on Aug. 3-4 at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.

Stillwater won three of four games in the tourney, including an 84-70 victory over Waconia in the finale. The Ponies opened with a 70-41 victory over Proctor before falling to Austin 74-69 in the second round. Stillwater bounced back withi a 76-40 triumph over Minnehaha Academy and then defeated Waconia to wrap things up.

The Sweet 16 Tournament is an invitational that features four of the top teams from each of Minnesota’s four classes.

Stillwater placed third in this tourney a year ago with many of the players that contributed to a state runner-up finish in the Class AAAA state tournament.

This was the sixth year in a row Hopkins has claimed the Sweet 16 championship, beating Wayzata 77-65 in this year’s title game.

Stillwater verbals

Stillwater players Liza Karlen and Mary Fultz each made verbal commitments to NCAA programs this summer.

Karlen, a versatile 6-foot-3 forward, has chosen to play for first-year coach Megan Duffy at Marquette University. The Golden Eagles finished 27-8 a year ago and won the Big East Conference championship under coach Carolyn Kieger, who then took over as head coach at Penn State.

Karlen was an all-conference performer for the Ponies last season and has been selected to serve as captain for this year’s squad.

Fultz, a 6-0 forward, will play for Missouri Western State University, an NCAA Division II program that is a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

Missouri Western State is coached by Candi Whitaker, who enters her first season with the Griffons after spending five years as the head coach at Texas Tech. Former Gophers coach Marlene Stallings replaced Whitaker at Texas Tech.

The Griffons finished 14-16 a year ago.

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