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Lady Jays, Bluejays split with Mavericks

WORTHINGTON -- With a balanced attack and a good shooting night from 3-point land, the Minnesota West Lady Jays defeated Minneapolis, 87-69, in a MCCC Southern Division women's basketball game Saturday.

"We had great balance, and it's always good to have all five starters in double figures," Minnesota West head coach Mike Fury said. "Everybody just did a nice job."

Ashley Neperman led the Lady Jays (1-1, 8-7) with 24 points, including a 6-of-10 night from beyond the arc.

Stacy Bush added 19, and was 5-of-9 from 3-point land.

After an Ashley Kirk (12 points, 10 rebounds) free throw, Neperman and Bush each hit a trey, but the Mavericks (0-1, 3-11) had an early lead.

Neperman and Bush each hit two more treys in the early going, as West took a 21-19 advantage.

"They stayed in a zone, and we hit them today," Fury said. "I think that's a key whenever anybody goes into a zone. If you're making shots, it's going to be hard to guard you. Fortunately for us, they were going in."

Trailing 29-25, Minneapolis used a timeout with five minutes remaining in the first half.

However, out of the timeout, West's Ashlee Domine (14 points) hit a trey, followed by baskets from Kirk and Rosie Lewis (11 points, 13 rebounds). Bush hit another trey as Minnesota West made 8-of-17 (48 percent) 3-pointers in the first half.

"I've been coming down here for three years now, and I know that Mike's teams usually shoot well," Minneapolis head coach James Fassett said. "I knew they could shoot, but the first half they were 48 percent. I didn't anticipate 48 percent."

The Mavericks finished the first half on a 10-3 run, but the Lady Jays had a 44-39 lead at the halftime break.

Neperman started the second half with a pair of treys, and Bush added another long-range shot -- giving West a 55-42 advantage.

"The first half, if we keep them to 2s as opposed to 3s, we're probably up by 10," Fassett said. "They always say that 3s can either make you or break you, and we were hoping that in the second half it would break them, but it didn't."

Jessica Ray (19 points) scored five consecutive points for the Mavericks, as Minneapolis continued to hang around.

Minnesota West went through a dry spell from the field -- making just one field goal in a span of seven minutes -- while the Mavericks continued to chip away at the lead.

Brittany Monio (20 points) hit a pair of 3s, cutting the Lady Jay lead to just eight points, 72-64.

"They hung in there with us forever," Fury said. "We kept a seven or eight-point lead, but I was nervous. But fortunately for us, we shot pretty well. That was maybe the real key. You want to shoot good at home and I think we did."

Another trey and a pair of free throws from Neperman with five minutes remaining gave West a 13-point advantage, but a trey from Ray cut the lead to just 10.

"In the second half, we hit a couple of big ones, but then they would go down and hit a three," Fury said. "It stayed right around eight or 10 points, but I guess if you're 10 points ahead, that's a good thing."

However, that would be the last points the Mavericks would score as MW finished on a 10-0 run to claim an 87-69 victory.

With only seven players seeing action for the Mavericks, late foul trouble hurt their chances of a comeback.

"In the second half, we got in a little foul trouble and lost some of the fire that we had, and it kind of went south from there," Fassett said.

With the victory the first in the southern division for the Lady Jays, Minnesota West will now have a pair of games on the road at Rochester (Wednesday) and Riverland (Friday) before returning home Jan. 16.

Minneapolis 39 30 -- 69

MW 44 43 -- 87

Minneapolis (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Morris 0-0-2-2, Marcelin 0-1-0-2, Monio 2-6-2-20, Langenfeld 1-0-0-3, Ray 2-3-7-19, Cross 1-4-4-15, Adan 0-4-0-8. Totals 6-18-15-69.

MW (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Neperman 6-1-4-24, Domine 1-5-1-14, Bush 5-2-0-19, Lewis 0-4-3-11, Kirk 0-4-4-12, Vaske 0-0-5-5, Mischke 0-1-0-2. Totals 12-17-17-87.

Men Minneapolis 74, MW 65

WORTHINGTON -- Gordy Sanford's double-double was not enough for Minnesota West to overcome a taller Minneapolis team, as the Mavericks claimed a 74-65 MCCC Southern Division men's basketball victory Saturday afternoon.

Coming off a two-point performance in Wednesday's game, Sanford responded with 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Bluejays (0-2, 4-10).

"I didn't play particularly well the last game, so I figured that I needed to step up," Sanford said. "People did a good job of getting me the ball, and I did what I could to put the ball in the hoop."

The sophomore forward finished 7-of-16 from the field, but West shot just 39 percent as a team. Minneapolis shot 48 percent from the floor.

"Everything was such a battle," Minnesota West head coach Justin Heckenlaible said. "Credit to them, their big people are big, and ultimately that kind of took it out of us a little bit. (Nick) Ables hit a couple of big 3s, and it just comes down to making shots. We played pretty hard, but every time we turned the ball over or didn't execute, it ended up being a layup for them."

Ables finished with a team-high 22 points and seven rebounds.

Cortez Wallace and Ables combined to score the first 12 points for the Mavericks, giving Minneapolis a 12-6 lead early in the first half.

Sanford (9-of-10 from the line) hit a pair of free throws to pull the Bluejays within four, but a 9-2 spurt increased the Mavericks' lead to 21-10.

Sparked by a dunk from Sanford, West closed the first half on a 16-8 run, and trailed 36-34 at halftime.

Minneapolis started the second half with a free throw, but a layup from Justin Lee cut the lead to just one point.

However, that would be as close as the Bluejays would get as the Mavericks opened up a 57-45 lead midway through the second half.

A pair of treys from Aaron Delaney (11 points) from the same spot on the floor cut the lead to just five, but Minneapolis' Ables answered with a trey of his own to push the lead to eight.

"They stepped up and made big shots every time we got close to cut the lead," Heckenlaible said.

The Mavericks made just one field goal in the final four minutes, but six shots from the foul line sealed a 74-65 victory.

"We played pretty well actually, but we made a few mistakes by turning the ball over," Sanford said. "Otherwise, we could have won that game very easily."

West committed just 10 turnovers, but many of the turnovers led to fast breaks the other way.

With four players listed at 6-7 or taller, Minneapolis was out rebounded by West, 36-34. The Bluejays also held an advantage at the free throw line, making 16-of-18 shots.

Minnesota West, which lost two home games to start southern division play, will try for its first division victory on the road this week.

"We have to find some road wins now and hopefully we can bounce back," Heckenlaible said. "Rochester is very good team that we have to play."

West travels to Rochester Wednesday.

"It's very frustrating, because you have to protect your home court," Sanford said. "It's tough to win on the road in this conference, so we have to pick two up some place else I guess."

For West to pick up a pair of wins, Heckenlaible hopes that the consistent play from Sanford keeps up.

"We've wanted him to be more consistent, and before Christmas he had three or four games where he was consistent, so hopefully, this will springboard him to being more consistent," Heckenlaible said. "Hopefully, Wednesday he can give us 15 or 20 points again."

Minneapolis 36 38 -- 74

MW 34 31 -- 65

Minneapolis (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Mayberry 0-3-4-10, Jackson 1-1-2-7, Cloak 0-2-0-4, Ables 2-8-0-22, Wallace 0-4-6-14, Hodges 2-0-1-7, Leon 0-1-0-2, Bilitz 0-4-0-8. Totals 5-23-13-74.

MW (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Aggen 1-1-2-7, Lee 0-2-2-6, Schaefer 0-1-1-3, Delaney 3-1-0-11, Marrs 0-4-2-10, Harrell 0-1-0-2, Sanford 1-6-9-24, Eggleston 0-1-0-2. Totals 5-17-16-65.