WORTHINGTON -- It ain’t easy playing four-year schools.
Especially at the beginning of the year. The Minnesota West Community and Technical College women’s basketball team lost its second home game in as many tries to start the 2019-20 season Friday night, 85-72 against Northwestern junior varsity at the 16th annual Sanford Worthington Basketball Classic.
“They’re solid. They do things well. They’re practicing against juniors and seniors every day, I imagine,” said MW head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka.
Three days after falling to Mount Marty JV 71-60, the Lady Jays weren’t able to keep up with the Red Raiders, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Tearing up the floor with aggressive pressure throughout the second half, they made mini-runs to cut into a lead that the Raiders held since early in the first quarter. But their runs were always answered with runs by the Raiders.
“I knew we had a pretty brutal schedule to start,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “For one, we have to take care of the basketball. Maybe the helter-skelter on the defensive end makes us try to go too fast on the offensive end. But 30 turnovers is just too much.”
Minnesota West’s 30 turnovers were indeed a bit much, but the Jays forced Northwestern JV into 29 of them. For the second straight game, the Lady Jays missed several shots they thought they should make -- they converted 42 percent of their shots overall, but were just 2-for-15 on 3-point attempts.
Northwestern had balanced scoring. Kailyn Groves led the way with 21 points, Abby DeWitt and Jayda Knuppe both had 17, and Abigail Clarke scored 12.
Lexie Ramsey, whose second-half motor was largely responsible for keeping the Lady Jays within striking distance, finished with 18 points and three steals for the home team. Emily Shaffer added 13 points. Anna Cadassou and Alanna Goetzinger both had 10.
Goetzinger had seven rebounds while Shaffer and Cadassou both had six.
Hayenga-Hostikka, who praised Goetzinger and Teylor Albers for their performances off the bench, said she told her team at halftime that, whatever they do, they must keep up the effort.
“Our effort was 100 percent there in the second half. We worked hard, we didn’t always work smart. … But that’ll come,” said the coach.
Melissa Brandt, who scored eight points in the game, scored the game’s first four points for West as it moved out to a 4-0 lead. But Northwestern scored the next 14.
Northwestern led by as much as 15 points in the second quarter but allowed West to get within 40-34 on a long Ramsey 2-point field goal.
Leading by 15 points in the third quarter, the Red Raiders let their lead get trimmed to 61-52 early in the fourth with a Shaffer 3-point field goal -- but they answered by scoring the next seven points. Minnesota West just could not sustain any momentum.
The West women play another Sanford Tournament game today at 4 p.m. against Dordt JV -- another four-year school.