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College basketball: Early Lady Jays lead turns to dust

WORTHINGTON -- Little Priest Tribal College trailed Minnesota West 11-0 early in its college women's basketball game Wednesday night at the Center for Health and Wellness. It was 16-2 a little bit later, and hometown fans settled in for what look...

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The Minnesota West Lady Jays' Emily Haubrich guards Little Priest Tribal College's Jazlynn Muniz (10) Wednesday night in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

 

WORTHINGTON -- Little Priest Tribal College trailed Minnesota West 11-0 early in its college women’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Center for Health and Wellness. It was 16-2 a little bit later, and hometown fans settled in for what looked like an easy win -- possibly a blowout.

Not quite. The Little Priest Warriors outscored West 24-3 for the remainder of the first quarter and never looked back en route to an impressive 84-75 victory.

Complacent? Yes, her Lady Jays were probably complacent, said Lady Jays head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka.

You could hardly blame them. The Jays beat Little Priest easily in last year’s meeting between the two clubs. West had a 6-2 record entering Wednesday’s matchup compared to Little Priest’s 4-8 record. After West worked itself to that 11-0 lead helped by two 3-point shots by Ashlynn Wabeke and another by Emily Haubrich, the Jays seemed capable of naming their score.

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Suddenly, the smaller, quicker Warriors used the press to advantage. They made their shots, too, while the Lady Jays went cold. Minnesota West, trailing 47-32 at halftime, never solved the visitors in the second half.

“I told (our players) over and over, they’re a very different team than last year,” said Hayenga-Hostikka after the game. “I just don’t think we were ready to go out of the gate.”

“Last year it was seriously a scrimmage. We could turn the ball over 17 times and we still would be up by 30,” said Haubrich.

Minnesota West turned the ball over 17 times on Wednesday, but they could not get away with it. The taller Lady Jays also surrendered 22 offensive rebounds to the Warriors. Their guard play was unable to make enough good passes against the press to keep the offense oiled.

The Jays have struggled to find one consistent point guard in the early-going of the 2017-18 season. They’re still searching.

“It’s not natural for anybody on our team. It’s a learning curve, and it’s a slow learning curve for us,” Hayenga-Hostikka said.

Day ‘Zchay’ Lon Gardner scored 22 points for the Warriors while teammate Jazlynn Muniz had 15 and Talia Paytiamo 10.

Haubrich finished with 17 for Minnesota West. Andrea Hinkeldey and Katherin Ihnen -- the Jays’ principal inside threats -- each had 16 points. But Ihnen, who recently set a school single-game scoring record with 48, rarely got off a clean shot against the scrappy visitors.

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Wabeke finished with 12 points and M’Kayla Mike had 10. Hinkeldey had 11 rebounds.

Little Priest out-rebounded West 49-46 for the game and converted 14 of 19 free throws. West, which was just 11-for-30 from the field in the first half and 6-for-15 from the free throw line, finished with 38 percent shooting from the field and 18-for-32 at the line. But the defense seemed to tire at times, and the Warriors stayed fresh.

Still, the Lady Jays still had a chance to pull out a win late in the fourth quarter. Hinkeldey got them going with a couple of inside field goals and a steal on the other end, and with 3:52 remaining Little Priest’s lead was cut to 74-63. A Haubrich 3-pointer from the right side made it 74-66 with 2:49 to go, and with 1:20 left a Wabeke 3-point shot made it 77-72.

From there, the Warriors held firm.

After the game, Hayenga-Hostikka said her team needs to be tougher -- and find a ball-handler to keep the team from letting bad stretches get out of hand.

“I think it’s mental. Right now we’re lacking a leader. We have no one ready to step up and get things under control when things go bad,” she said. “It’s a little concerning, but it’ll be OK.”

Little Priest 26 47 65 84

Lady Jays 19 32 51 75

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LITTLE PRIEST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Begay 0-3-1-7, Muniz 2-1-7-15, Lucero 0-3-0-6, Kemm 0-1-1-3, Albo 0-2-0-4, Gardner 3-4-5-22, Paytiamo 2-2-0-10, Benally 0-1-0-2, Kie-Lorenzo 3-0-0-9, Moore 0-3-0-6. Totals 10-20-14-84.

LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Mike 0-1-8-10, Haubrich 5-1-0-17, Stanley 0-1-0-2, Hinkeldey 0-6-4-16, Wabeke 4-0-0-12, Van Roekel 0-1-0-2, Ihnen 0-5-6-16. Totals 9-15-18-75.

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Minnesota West's M'Kayla Mike (5) takes a shot against Little Priest Tribal College. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

Related Topics: COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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