Hayenga, Huisman and Murray lead Lady Jays over Riverland
The Minnesota West women's basketball team held together in the second half to protect a lead and defeat a strong Riverland team, 77-70, in Worthington on Wednesday
WORTHINGTON -- Clutch individual performances by three Minnesota West women’s basketball players kept the Lady Jays in front of a strong Riverland team Wednesday night, helping the Jays to a 77-70 victory at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington.
Freshman guard Olivia Hayenga scored 20 first-half points to hand West a 44-34 lead at intermission. A hot third quarter by sophomore Madisyn Huisman kept the Lady Jays in front, and some big fourth quarter buckets by sophomore forward Tia Murray brought the team home.
Minnesota West’s victory upped the third-ranked two-year Division III team in the nation to a 22-2 record, improving West to 8-1 in the MCAC Southern Division standings while dropping the Blue Devils to 5-3, and 14-4 overall.
Riverland is the 10th-ranked team in the country.
The Devils cut what was at one time a double-digit second-half West lead to just three points, 62-59, with 7:10 remaining in the game. But they were never allowed to take the lead despite connecting on 11 3-point shots for the contest.
Riverland made 11 of 17 from 3-point range while the Lady Jays were just 4 for 12.
“I would have said, if they’d hit 11 threes we weren’t going to win,” West head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka said afterward. “And some of them who made them weren’t even their best 3-point shooters.”
In the second half, said Hayenga-Hostikka, “I felt like we got a little bit tentative. I thought our passes were a little tentative at times. We just gotta figure out these zones.”
Too often while they protected their lead, the Jays allowed the shot clock to wind down before being able to penetrate the Devils’ zone defense. Hayenga-Hostikka said it was a matter of not attacking enough.
A Reana Schmitt 3-point play brought Riverland to within 62-59 at the 7-minute mark. But between 4-6 minutes remaining Murray brought home the bacon, and with 3:05 to play, the Jays still had control, 69-64. A big block from behind by Hayenga with about a minute to go was key. With just 32.5 seconds to play, Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor sunk a free throw to make the score 73-67.
Hayenga finished with 24 points and added four assists along with nine rebounds. Huisman scored 13 points. Murray finished with 21, with six rebounds and four assists. Scheitel-Taylor came up with four steals and eight assists.
Minnesota West out-rebounded Riverland 34-28 and totaled 23 assists to the Blue Devils’ 12. The Jays converted 15 of their 19 free throws compared to Riverland’s 9 of 15.
“That’s a huge win. That’s an absolutely huge win,” said Hayenga-Hostikka. “We’ll take it, I don’t care.”
Riverland 11 34 51 70
Lady Jays 24 44 60 77
RIVERLAND (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Miles 1-5-1-14, McQuery 0-3-0-6, Schmitt 0-2-6-10, Longhoma 3-2-0-13, Mecoleta 0-0-0-0, Holien 1-2-2-9, Thurnau 1-0-0-3, Granada 0-4-0-12, Werdel 1-0-0-3. Totals 11-14-9-70.
LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Murray 0-6-9-21, Peterson 0-3-1-7, Scheitel-Taylor 0-1-1-3, Huisman 0-6-1-13, Hayenga 3-6-3-24, DeVries 0-2-0-4, Drapeau 1-1-0-5, Potter 0-0-0-0. Totals 4-25-15-77.