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Minnesota West women take care of business in lopsided win

Minnesota West's Avery Van Roekel (40) sprints away from St. Cloud Tech's Kiara Coops after grabbing a rebound. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 3
The Lady Jays' Shelby Pourier (in white) leaps for a jump shot over the heads of St. Cloud Tech defenders Maria Stokes, Abbie Wuertz (23) and Kiara Coops for two points. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)2 / 3
Minnesota West's Emily Shaffer (33) takes a jump shot from outside the 3-point line as St. Cloud Tech's Rachel Vreeland (2) is too late to arrive on defense. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)3 / 3

WORTHINGTON — Lexie Ramsey likes to play defense.

And against St. Cloud Technical College on Saturday, so did the rest of her Minnesota West teammates. The Lady Jay women’s basketball team limited the Cyclones to 35 percent shooting and forced 37 turnovers in a 97-54 victory.

“I love playing defense,” said Ramsey, who had a game-high four steals. “Against teams like this, that’s where I shine.

“Our press was a good thing on that, too,” she added. “They were just kind of throwing it right into our hands. We had easy buckets — some of them we missed, but that happens, I guess.”

Against the Cyclones, MW wanted to put the hammer down early.

“The thing I think I was the happiest with is you take a team who hasn’t won a game in the conference and I said you have to set the tone from the start,” West head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka said. “You have to come out of the gates and take all the wind out of their sails right away. I thought we played a great first half of the first quarter. We came out and really took care of business.”

It was a big game for the Lady Jays, who are currently sitting in the final playoff spot.

“This was an absolute, have-to-win game for us to keep that fourth spot,” Hayenga-Hostikka said. “We took care of business and did what we needed to do.”

While West improved to 5-4 in the division, it has done much of their playing on the road, including the last six games in which MW went 3-3. However, the final three games are at home, starting with Wednesday against league-leading Western Tech.

The Lady Jays never trailed Saturday, and jumped out to a 17-4 lead following a Ramsey layup.

“I think we played great,” Ramsey said. “We started off the first five minutes good like we always do and trying to get that mentality of, ‘This is our game.’”

But St. Cloud battled back and was within nine, 24-15, with 1:36 remaining in the first quarter.

“I feel like we weren’t reversing the ball like we should,” Ramsey said. “We weren’t really necessarily running our plays at the beginning of the game.”

From there, the Lady Jays put the game away. M’Kayla Mike (nine points, eight assists) hit a 3 to start a 17-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter as the lead went to 26.

West led by as many as 31 (56-25) late in the second following a triple from Haley Unke, one from Emily Schroer and one from Emily Shaffer.

Minnesota West pushed the advantage to 45 in the second half and closed out the victory.

Shaffer finished with a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Ramsey scored 21 and Schroer had 17. Ashlynn Rosenberg scored 13 points off the bench.

“When someone is hot, we dish them the ball,” Ramsey said. “When someone else is hot, we’ll dish them the ball. That’s one thing we like to do against teams like this, we share the ball a lot. It’s fun to do it, too.”

St. Cloud Tech 15 28 42 54

Lady Jays 32 56 85 97

  1. CLOUD TECH (3FG-2FT-FT-TP) Agbelessessi 0-1-0-2, Vreeland 1-2-1-8, Coops 0-6-7-19, Nahring 1-3-4-13, Wuertz 4-0-0-12. Totals 6-12-12-54.

LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Unke 1-0-0-3, Mike 1-1-4-9, Pourier 0-2-0-4, Ramsey 1-6-6-21, Schroer 4-2-1-17, Shaffer 3-6-6-27, Van Roekel 0-0-3-3, Rosenberg 1-4-2-13. Totals 11-21-22-97.