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Bush sharp from perimeter as Lady Jays blow past Vikings, 98-61

WORTHINGTON -- In an incredible performance, Lady Jay sophomore Stacy Bush "shot the lights out" at the Minnesota West gymnasium Saturday afternoon, as the guard from Hills sank 10-of-14 three-pointers and finished with a career-high 37 points.

Bush drilled five treys in each half, as Minnesota West stretched a 47-36 halftime lead into an impressive 98-61 victory over the Itasca Vikings in community college women's basketball action.

"Stacy was hot, as she was hitting her long shots from all angles," praised Minnesota West head coach Mike Fury. "She did a nice job of getting open and her teammates found her with good passes. Then it was catch and shoot -- and Stacy sank most of them."

An hour later, it seemed like Bush had "literally shot the lights out" as a city-wide power outage -- due to Saturday's snow and ice storm -- made the lights go out twice during the closing minutes of the first half of the men's game.

During the first break in the action, a fan was heard to say:

"I guess that Stacy Bush just shot the lights out in the women's game."

Bush finished 12-of-17 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line, while also dishing off three assists. Bush also had a pair of steals and five rebounds.

Playing good man-to-man defense and running its motion man-to-man offense with precision, the Lady Jays opened up several big leads early in the game -- twice leading by 20 points.

"We had a nice first 15 minutes," said Fury. "Everybody contributed, as we executed well offensively and played good team defense too."

The Vikings (2-5), however, put on a good spurt prior to halftime, closing the gap to 11 points by intermission.

Six players scored for MW (5-4) in that first half, as Bush (17), Ashlee Domine (10) and Ashley Kirk (nine) combined for 36 Lady Jay points.

Cali Mischke (four), Ashley Neperman (three) and Rosie Lewis (two) contributed the other 11 first half points for MW.

Viking post player Megan Zubke, who sank 8-of-10 free throws in the first half, tallied 14 first half points for Itasca.

For the first nine minutes of the second half, the Vikings kept the game close, matching points with the Lady Jays.

Holding a 61-49 lead with 11:05 to play in the game, West began to pull away, as the Jays put together runs of 9-4 and 12-0 to claim a huge 29-point lead (82-53) with 5:35 showing on the clock.

A pair of free throws by Kirk (15 points, four assists, two steals, five rebounds) started the first run. Bush followed with her seventh 3-pointer of the game, increasing the Lady Jay advantage to 66-49.

A free throw by Kirk, a jumper by Bush, a free throw by Bush and another 3-pointer by Bush gave West a 73-53 lead with 8:43 to play.

An offensive rebound bucket by Mischke (13 points, two assists, a team-high eight rebounds) and a fastbreak basket by Neperman (nine points) off a feed from Bush moved the scoreboard to 77-53.

Domine (16 points, five rebounds, three assists) scored on a nifty turn-around jumper and Bush drained another 3-pointer -- off an assist from Neperman -- capping the 12-0 Lady Jay run and increasing the lead to 82-53.

"We were running the floor well and getting the ball to the open player," noted Fury. "We held Itasca to just four points over that six-minute stretch, which really allowed us to pull away."

Bush fired in one more 3-pointer during the last five minutes, as she came close to the all-time Lady Jays' record of 11 3-pointers -- made by Abby LeBoutillier in 1999.

A couple of strong rebounds by Ashley Markus, along with a nice feed from G.P. Vaske to Jerryann Thomas highlighted West action in the closing minutes as the Lady Jays neared the century mark.

A pair of free throws by Mischke (who was 3-of-3 at the line) gave West 98 points with 28 seconds left, putting the finishing touches on the team's third victory in its last four games.

The Lady Jays were 35-of-69 from the field for 51 percent and made 16-of-23 free throws for 70 percent.

Itasca was 18-of-46 from the field for 39 percent and a sizzling 22-of-27 from the line for 82 percent.

Zukbe led the Vikings with 20 points, six rebounds and three steals.

The Lady Jays host the Dakota Wesleyan JV Tuesday.

Itasca 36 25 -- 61

MW 47 51 -- 98

Itasca (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Barbacovi 1-2- 0-7, Hamilton 0-2-0-4, Cleveland 1-2-5-12, Campbell 0-0-2-2, Clarke 0-3-3-9, Fosness 1-0-2-5, Schaaf 0-1-0-2, Zubke 0-5-10-20. Totals: 3-15-22-61.

MW (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Voges 0-0-1-1, Neperman 1-2-2-9, Domine 0-7-2-16, Bush 10-2-3-37, Lewis 0-1-0-2, Kirk 1-4-4-15, Markus 0-1-0-2, Vaske 0-0-1-1, Mischke 0-5-3-13, Thomas 0-1-0-2. Totals: 12-23-16-98.