Second half blues: Lady Jays defeated by RCTC 73-53

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Mar. 18—ROCHESTER — The Minnesota West Lady Jays placed second in the NJCAA DIII women's basketball national tournament after losing 73-53 to the hosting Rochester Community and Technical College Yellowjackets on Saturday.

The Lady Jays started the game well against the team that has now given them three of their five losses, going shot-for-shot with the Yellowjackets.

The Lady Jays took their first lead of the game 14-13, with 3:56 to go in the first period on a Hattie DeVries layup.

After forcing a steal in the final five seconds Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor scored a go-ahead layup to put the Lady Jays up 19-17 after one quarter of basketball.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern. The Lady Jays would take a lead and the Yellowjackets would tie the game up. The Lady Jays however worked magic at the buzzer as Olivia Hayenga tipped in a basket before the buzzer to once again give her team a lead at the break, 34-32.

But then it all went south for Minnesota West. The Lady Jays came out of the half tentative —much like their game yesterday against Owens. After a quick 4-0 scoring run by the Yellowjackets Lady Jays' coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka called a timeout to calm her squad down.

The intensity from Rochester never faded. The press defense which the Lady Jays were able to break in the first half now made them error prone, and timid. The scoring run grew to 15-2 for the Yellowjackets.

"I can't explain it. I think we just got off to that bad start, we turned the ball over on the first possession, and then it was just like all of a sudden back into that tentative mode," said Hayenga-Hostikka. "They didn't really do anything a whole lot differently. We just kind of got tentative and then we got scared to attack, made weak passes, and that gave them all the momentum in the world."

The Lady Jays averaged a little under 20 points a quarter in the national tournament, and scored only 19 points in the entirety of the second half.

"When it started to go bad I think we just got to that breaking point of fatigue, I don't know," said Hayenga-Hostikka on her team, that was playing a fourth game in as many days. "We played 14 quarters of unbelievable basketball this week. It is just unfortunate the last two, we didn't play like we did all week."

The Lady Jays grew frustrated over the second half. Late in the first half Olivia Hayenga was incorrectly assessed an over-and-back violation due to the striping of the court. The frustration boiled over when coach Hayenga-Hostikka was given a technical foul after letting an official hear her opinion on a sequence where Hayenga was not given free throws on a potential shooting foul and Scheitel-Taylor was whistled for a grab on the ensuing transition.

The Lady Jays had 32 turnovers. The Yellowjackets had 19 turnovers. The Lady Jays shot four free throws, while RCTC shot 16.

The leading scorer for the Yellowjackets was the tournament's most valuable player Olivia Christianson with 31 points. Christianson scored 14 points in the first half, and was 3-of-8 from 3-point range.

The leading scorer for the Lady Jays was Tia Murray with 15. Hayenga scored 13, Husiman scored eight, Scheitel-Tayor scored seven, and Dannyn Peterson scored six.

Murray and Hayenga were both recognized as members of the all-tournament team.

Minnesota West had three sophomore players who competed in back-to-back national tourneys — Huisman, Murray and Peterson.

"Those sophomores — I can't tell them enough how proud I am and the mark they made on Lady Jays basketball," said Hayenga-Hostikka. "Nobody has ever done back-to-back national tournament (appearances). You can't replace them, it doesn't matter what recruiting class you have, you can't replace those three."

"Tia is going to go on and have a great career," said Hayenga-Hostikka. "Where she started at and where she has come — it is unbelievable. More so — not just her basketball game but the person she has become, and the teammate, and the leader. That is what I am so proud of her for."

"Dannyn is the toughest kid I have ever coached," said Hayenga-Hostikka. "Her body is just a disaster. There is no other kid I know that would have played with all the injuries that she had. Would you know it? She is taking charges and I mean hustling. This year she didn't get to score as much. She did a lot of dirty work and she was just fine with it."

"Madisyn — her shooting and just the kind of person she is? You can't replace that," said Hayenga-Hostikka. "How good of a basketball player she has gotten to be is just amazing. I said it in there, (locker room) 'I want to start crying, and it's not because we lost, but I felt like I am sad because it is over.'"

Minnesota West 19 34 45 53

RCTC 17 32 56 73

MINNESOTA WEST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Scheitel-Taylor 0-3-1-7, Huisman 1-2-1-8, Hayenga 3-2-0-13, Murray 1-6-0-15, Peterson 0-3-0-6, DeVries 0-2-0-4. TOTALS 5-18-2-53.

RCTC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Ruzek 1-2-3-10, Miles 2-5-0-16, Christianson 3-8-6-31. Sikkink 0-1-1-3, James 0-5-2-12, Andring 0-0-1-1. TOTALS 6-21-13-73.