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College women's basketball: Lady Jays fly past Dakota Wesleyan JV

West’s Lindsey Drooger drives inside for a shot against Dakota Wesleyan JV. Brian Korthals/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON —The Minnesota West Lady Jays seemed to have their way with Dakota Wesleyan JV through the first half of their college women’s basketball game Wednesday night, holding a 48-34 lead at intermission. But there may have been a few nerves exposed in the second half as the visiting Tigers pulled to within 53-47 at the 15:45 mark.

Those nerves were quickly put back in their place not long afterward. The Bluejays flew away from the Tigers at that point, like a sensitive bird from an inquisitive child who’d wandered just a little too close.

In the end, West prevailed 92-65, evening its record at 2-2.

“We had some good hustle,” crowed West head coach Mike Fury.

Good hustle. And maybe exceptional conditioning, too.

“I like to think we’re in pretty good shape. But I think it was the hustle rather than the conditioning. And we really hustled up and down the floor,” Fury said.

Indeed they did. After Wesleyan’s Shelbie Drey converted a short bank shot at the 15:45 mark, bringing her team within 53-47, Minnesota West’s offense —which had been running full throttle for most of the game anyway — kicked it into higher gear. Barely three minutes after Wesleyan had pulled to within six, West pulled ahead 67-49 on a Tiffany Gehl steal and driving layup. A Lindsey Drooger three-point shot at 11:25 made it 70-59. A driving layup by Drooger made it 78-49 at the 7:43 mark.

Dakota Wesleyan didn’t manage to get off of 49 until scoring on a pair of free throws with 7:30 remaining in the game —concluding a nearly six-minute scoring drought. Credit Gehl, a 5-11 sophomore from Fulda, with leading the Lady Jays’ charge. Her teammates fed off her hustle on both ends of the floor at the very time the Tigers appeared to wilt — their shots short, their movements a half-step slow, their passes telegraphed.

Gehl, who scored 15 of her points in the second half, finished with a game-high 25. Lydia Kemper, a 5-7 freshman from Worthington, also played a plucky, energetic game and added 22 points. Drooger finished with 17 and Kristen Andersen 14.

Lexy Jo Deneke and Kaitlyn Woodrum led Wesleyan with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

West made 5 of 17 three-point field goals and 32 of 72 from two-point range. Wesleyan made just four of 23 three-pointers and 23 of 69 from closer in. The Lady Jays were 23 of 38 at the free throw line compared to the Tigers’ 15 of 21.

Not all was perfect for the home team, however. Fury noted that his Jays made too many turnovers — 25 according to the stat sheet. But he said the goal going into the contest was to improve over the first three games, and the team did that.

“I think we played better defensively and we rebounded much better,” said the coach.

Unofficially, Minnesota West pulled down 20 offensive rebounds. Overall, the Jays outrebounded the Tigers 55-44, with Drooger getting 10 of her own and Gehl eight.

Wesleyan JV 34 65

Lady Jays 48 92

DAKOTA WESLEYAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Geiman 0-1-0-2, Cheeseman 0-2-1-5, Deneke 1-5-2-15, Woodrum 2-2-4-14, Kuhn 1-0-2-5, Edwards 0-2-1-5, Keefe 0-1-4-6, Berryhill 0-0-0-0, New Holy 0-1-0-2, Drey 0-5-1-11. Totals 4-19-15-65.

LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Hermeling 1-0-0-3, Kramer 0-3-1-7, Kemper 2-6-4-22, Gehl 0-9-7-25, Drooger 1-5-4-17, Dohlmann 0-0-0-0, Andersen 1-2-7-14, Tish 0-2-0-4. Totals 5-27-23-92.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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