MW WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Lady Jays dominate Yellowjackets 64-48 in playoff previewWORTHINGTON — There are two teams above Minnesota West’s women’s basketball team in the Southern Division standings. Rochester is one of them, but it certainly didn’t seem that way Wednesday, as the Lady Jays never trailed in a 64-48 victory.
WORTHINGTON — There are two teams above Minnesota West’s women’s basketball team in the Southern Division standings. Rochester is one of them, but it certainly didn’t seem that way Wednesday, as the Lady Jays never trailed in a 64-48 victory.
Rochester and MW (18-8, 7-4) split the season series, but the rubber match will be the most important, as it will happen in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday.
“We’re going to end up seeing them again next week,” MW coach Mike Fury said. “We got out to such a great start, played so well early and we just held on to it.
“We had a ton of poise today. We’ve been waiting for that against a pressure defense and that is the key.”
It’s hard to predict how the third matchup will go between Rochester and MW, considering the two games were polar opposites of one another.
“The rubber match should be a good one,” Fury said. “We have some good momentum going and we want to close out the regular season the same way.”
MW came out of the gates firing, using a 22-5 run behind eight points from Alyson Drooger (18 points, eight rebounds, three assists) and eight points from Kayla Schroeder (10 points) to begin the game, setting the pace for a blowout.
“We didn’t want them to go into next Saturday knowing they had already beaten us twice,” Drooger said. “It’s hard to beat a team three times, but we wanted to show them that we could compete with them.
“Last game we let them step back and do what they wanted. Today, we got the ball, got rid of it, made crisp passes and we made it a lot easier.”
MW will not be taking too much confidence out of the win.
“They beat us by about as much as we beat them,” Drooger said. “We can’t go in there overconfident, but we have to go in there knowing we can play against them. We just have to focus and push the ball all the time.”
A 3-pointer from Brittany Hulstein (15 points, four rebounds) made it 33-10, but Rochester (19-6, 8-3) closed the half on an 11-3 to make it 36-21 MW heading into the break.
Midway through the second half two free throws from Rochester’s Jena Kadlac cut the MW lead to 43-31, but a free throw and a 3-pointer by Ilissa Koehl (seven points, four rebounds) made it 47-31 and Rochester would get no closer. The Lady Jays would get the lead to as high as 22 in the second half, eventually winning by 16.
“I’m really excited we beat them by that much,” Hulstein said. “We were playing really, really good defense. We had to shut them down and we did. We just need to keep playing hard.
“Now that we beat them, they are going to come back a lot harder in the playoffs.”
Katey Granstra finished with four points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, Katie Hadler had six points and four rebounds, and Katherine Kazemba had four points to help lead the Lady Jays.
MW will close out the regular season Saturday when the Lady Jays host Riverland.
Rochester 21 27 — 48
MW 36 28 — 64
Rochester (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Fleming 0-0-1-1, Anderson 0-1-1-3, Thoreson 1-2-0-7, Kadlac 0-0-4-4, Kasten 0-1-0-2, Baker 0-1-0-2, Gehl 1-3-4-13, Bremer 0-1-1-3, Meyer 0-2-2-6, Courson 1-2-0-7. Total 3-13-13-48.
Minnesota West (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Koehl 1-1-2-7, Kazemba 0-2-0-4, Drooger 2-4-4-18, Hadler 0-3-0-6, Hulstein 2-1-7-15, Schroeder 2-2-0-10, Granstra 0-2-0-4. Total 7-15-13-64.
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328.