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MW WOMENS BASKETBALL: Hulstein leads 2nd-half comeback in win

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe The Lady Jays' Brittany Hulstein (32) works inside between two Cavalier defenders on her way to the basket during an MCAC women's basektball game Wednesday in Worthington.1 / 2
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe The Lady Jays' Tiffany Gehl drives past a defender for a shot during basketball game Wednesday in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- After trailing by nine at halftime, Minnesota West guard Brittany Hulstein scored 15 of her 16 points in the second to help the Lady Jays come from behind to grab a 66-62 victory over the Western Technical College Cavaliers during a Minnesota College Athletic Conference women's basketball game Wednesday.

"It was a tale of two halves for us tonight," MW coach Mike Fury said. "The first half, we came out flat and weren't hustling. But to our credit, we came out big in the second half, especially the first 5 minutes. Those 5 minutes were the difference in the game."

The Lady Jays shot 29 percent in the first half, with Hulstein going 0-for-6 from the field and picking up just one point on 1 of 2 shots from the free throw line. Minnesota West also turned the ball over 11 times in the opening frame.

"We weren't hustling and we were turning the ball over a lot in the first half," Hulstein said. "We didn't have any poise, which led to us turning the ball over, and over and over again."

The Cavaliers led 32-23 heading into the locker room.

After trailing by 11 early in the second, the Lady Jays found their scoring touch and went on a 19-4 run to take a 42-38 lead with 15 minutes, 6 second left in the game.

"We passed the ball better and calmed down a lot in the second half, which helped us get on a roll," Hulstein said. "We were able to step back a little and just go with the flow more in the second half."

During the run, Tiffany Gehl picked up nine points, including two 3-pointers and an old-fashioned 3-point play, while Hulstein (13 rebounds) chipped in six points on a 3-point shot, a layup and a free throw.

"We got some good looks in those first 5 minutes of the second and the girls hit some big 3-pointers," Fury said. "We cut their lead to five and kind of took over from there."

However, the Cavaliers would not go away.

Mickayla Verthein and Amber Patterson combined for 10 points over the next 6 minutes to make it 53-50 and keep Western Tech in striking distance with 8:38 left in the half.

The Lady Jays took a six-point lead with 4 minutes, 20 seconds to play on the back of a Hulstein layup, a Katherine Kazemba 6 foot jumper and a Katey Granstra putback.

"We took care of the ball better in the second half and got some good looks," Fury said. "That is what we need to do. We can't rely on the 3-pointer all the time, so we had to work hard and we did that tonight."

The Cavaliers went on an 8-2 run over the next 2 minutes and change to pull within two late. Jenna McDonough made a pair of free throws and Patterson hit two shots over that span for Western Tech.

"At that point, I was really hoping we wouldn't turn the ball over toward the end of the game when they were able to close in on us," Hulstein said.

The Cavaliers' Becca Meade had a chance to tie the game at 64 when she went to the line to shoot two free throws, but missed both to keep the Lady Jays in the lead.

The ball went up-and-down the court multiple times in the final 2 minutes, but both teams were able to cause turnovers and rebound the ball on the defensive end.

"We all worked as a team better down the stretch there in the second half," Hulstein said. "We rotated and covered a lot better, which led to stops."

Lindsey Drooger put the Lady Jays up by four points with 15 seconds left on a pair of free throws to make it 66-62.

The Cavaliers took the ball up the floor in the final seconds to try to cut the lead and get the ball back for the winning shot. But Western Tech's final shot clanked off the rim to be caroled by the Lady Jays defense to secure the win.

"It was a great effort by everybody, especially in the second half," Fury said. "It is a 'W' and it is a good win. It keeps us right in contention in the division and that is right where we want to be."

Western Tech was led by Patterson, who had 23 points on the night, followed by McDonough (13 points) and Meade (10).

With the win, the Lady Jays (15-6, 6-2) are back in action Saturday when they travel to Willmar to face Ridgewater at 1 p.m.



WESTERN TECH (15-6, 5-2): Williams 1 2-2 4; Patterson 8 7-11 23; Hackbarth 0 2-2 2; Greene 1 1-2 3; McDonough 4 4-4 13; Verthein 3 1-2 7; Meade 5 0-2 10. Totals: 22 17-25 62.

LADY JAYS (15-6, 6-2): Hermeling 2 0-0 4; Eichenberger 2 0-0 4; Kazemba 1 0-0 2; Gehl 6 6-8 20; Hulstein 6 3-5 16; Drooger 3 3-7 9; Granstra 3 5-5 11. Totals: 23 17-25 66.

Western Tech 32 30 -- 62

Lady Jays 23 43 -- 66

3-Point Goals: Western Tech 1 (McDonough); Lady Jays 3 (Gehl 2, Hulstein). Rebounds: Western Tech 46 (Williams 5, Patterson 8, Hackbarth 4, Greene, McDonough 3, Verthein 2, Meade 7); Lady Jays 56 (Hermeling 3, Eichenberger 3, Kazemba 6, Gehl 5, Hulstein 12, Drooger 4, Granstra 7). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Western Tech 21 (McDonough); Lady Jays 16 (none). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Western Tech 12 (Williams, Patterson 2, Greene 3, Verthein, Meade); Lady Jays 15 (Hermeling, Eichenberger, Kazemba 2, Gehl, Hulstein 4, Drooger 2, Granstra 4). Steals: Western Tech 12 (Williams 2, Patterson 2, Hackbarth, Greene 6, McDonough); Lady Jays 5 (Eichenberger 2, Kazemba, Hulstein 2). Blocked Shots: Western Tech 1 (Williams); Lady Jays 2 (Granstra). Turnovers: Western Tech 8, Lady Jays 20.