Lady Jays in championship game, beat top-seeded Owens 76-59 in semifinals
Minnesota West plays rival Rochester in the championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m.
ROCHESTER — The Lady Jays are in the NJCAA DIII women’s basketball championship game after defeating top-seeded Owens Community College 76-59 on Friday.
The Lady Jays played a complete game outscoring the Express in all four quarters. Owens was the winner of the national tournament last year.
“What an exciting game we had — that is the best game we have played all year,” said Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka.
The Lady Jays and Express traded baskets in the first quarter with the Lady Jays ahead 21-19 at the buzzer. The Lady Jays started the second quarter on a 13-4 scoring run, and from there on kept the Express at arms’ length for a majority of the game. The lone fearful moment for the Lady Jays was at the start of the second half, when Owens went on a 6-0 scoring run to cut the lead to as low as four.
“It was kind of funny, I called that timeout after that terrible start and said ‘okay gang, I don’t know if that was confusing but that’s the exact opposite of what I said we wanted to do this to start the quarter,’” said Hayenga-Hostikka. “They were all just talking in the huddle saying ‘come on guys, we are fine, we are not doing this again tonight.’”
After the timeout, the Lady Jays erased the Express scoring run and kept close to a 10-point lead to end the game.
Stepping up big for the Lady Jays were their sophomore players, Tia Murray, Dannyn Peterson and Madisyn Huisman.
Peterson was in foul trouble early and often, taking her fourth whistle in the third quarter, played the role of icing the cake with five pivotal points in the fourth quarter.
“She was in foul trouble the whole night, and those five points she had (in the fourth quarter) were kind of the nail in the coffin,” said Hayenga-Hostikka. “That’s what a sophomore does, be a leader.”
Tia Murray had a double-double for the Trojans with a team leading 23 points and 15 rebounds. Olivia Hayenga had a double-double as well with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Huisman and Peterson had 13 points apiece. Hattie DeVries scored six.
Last night against Monroe College-Bronx the Lady Jays struggled late in the game to break a desperate press defense. Today, Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor, the primary point guard, stepped up big and kept the Lady Jays from turning the ball over to an Owens team that plays a similar defense.
“She was MVP of the game,” said Hayenga-Hostikka. “She just dictated the pace, broke the press — don’t think we had a single turnover to the press tonight, just a phenomenal job.”
The Lady Jays controlled the boards, rebounding the Express by 11, 46-35. The Lady Jays especially owned the boards late, keeping the Express from a single point scored off an offensive rebound in the fourth quarter.
“It was kind of one-and-done that whole quarter,” said Hayenga-Hostikka on Owen’s scoring chances in the fourth quarter. “That kind of sucks the life out of a team when you play good ‘D’ and rebound unbelievably well.”
Minnesota West scored on 45.3 percent of their field goals, going 34-of-75. The Lady Jays took eight shots from the free throw line, and made six. The Lady Jays were in-sync with their passing attack, and had 25 assists on the game.
Haley St. John had 20 points for the Express, Malorie Schroeder had 12 and Keianna Sheridan had 11.
The Lady Jays returned backup point guard Audrey Drapeau for her first game in the tournament. Drapeau played two minutes for her first game since the Lady Jays' 54-53 loss to Anoka-Ramsey in their region tournament on Feb. 26.
The Lady Jays play Rochester in the championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Yellowjackets handed Minnesota West two losses this season, but the plan for the Lady Jays is to keep playing their game.
“Two weeks ago we were sitting there thinking we weren’t even going to get an opportunity,” said Hayenga-Hostikka. “We kind of just got new life, and I am proud of them for taking advantage of it. It’s been the best games we have played all year.”
Minnesota West 21 40 60 76
Owens 19 30 47 59
MINNESOTA WEST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Scheitel-Taylor 0-2-0-4, Huisman 0-5-3-13, Hayenga 1-5-2-15, Murray 1-10-0-23, Peterson 0-6-1-13, DeVries 0-3-0-6, Potter 0-1-0-2. TOTALS 2-32-6-76.
OWENS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Green 2-1-1-9, Sheridan 2-1-3-11, Schroeder 1-4-1-12, St. John 0-9-2-20, Strahm 1-0-0-3, Ivy 0-1-0-2, Frierson 0-1-0-2. TOTALS 6-17-7-57.