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Women's Basketball

Pioneers 1-2 at NJCAA Women's Basketball Tournament (From TRF Times)

Results of a fourth straight trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III women’s basketball tournament had a familiar ring to it for Northland Community and Technical College. The Pioneers finished the three-day eight-team tournament Saturday with a 72-60 seventh place game win over Ocean County (N.J.) College following close losses at the hands of Roxbur (Mass.) Community College 72-65 in the Thursday quarterfinals and Westchester (N.Y.) Community
College 63-58 in the Friday consolation semifinals. Each of the four current trips to the national tournament for the Pioneers has produced a 1-2 showing. They also won seventh place games in 2010 and 2012 while losing a final-day third
place game decision in 2011. The two setbacks at the UCR Regional Sports Center doubled the Pioneers’ loss total for the year. Their 27 wins is the second most in program history behind only a 28-3 team that was the national tournament runner-up in 2002.
“We were definitely in both games that we lost,” said Northland coach Shannon Nelson. “We just made too many mistakes to make up in the end.” Top-seeded Rock Valley
(Ill.) College won its second straight national title by beating No. 2 seed Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) Community
College in the championship game 78-60.
Northland was seeded No. 6.
After losing an already-reported
opening round decision to No. 3 seeded Roxbury, Northland took No. 7 seed Westchester to the wire. The
Pioneers were within 28-26 at halftime and stayed close over the final 20 minutes.
Sarah Durand had an impressive
19-point, 15-rebound double-double for the Pioneers in that one. Jenna
Lundon scored 18 points, Eva
Lampert netted 11 and Tia Klein pulled down 12 rebounds. Westchester was led by Hayley Awerdick and Emonni Cropper with 15 points each. Ayanna Behagen
had 12. Northland was 15-for-48
from the field (31 percent) and 16-for-26 at the free throw line. Westchester went 20-for-60 from the floor (33
percent) and 8-for-14 at the line. The Pioneers finished with a 55-50 rebound advantage, but also had more turnovers, 24-16. “Westchester didn’t have a lot of size, so they really put on a lot of pressure in order
to make it difficult for us to get the ball inside,” explained Nelson. “This was another team that forced too many turnovers, which, along with
their offensive rebounds, were the difference in the game. It was difficult to bounce back after a devastating
loss Thursday.” Durand, a freshman who played high school basketball
for Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, had another attention-grabbing performance with 26 points and 11 rebounds in the Pioneers’ final-day victory over No. 8 seed Ocean County. Caitlin Hadrava added 12
points to the Northland offense
while the 5-5 Klein, a sophomore from East Grand Forks Sacred Heart, again hit double figures again on
the boards with 11 rebounds. Heather Tice scored 21 points to lead Ocean County. Amber Nafziger and Corinne Morgan both netted 12 for
the Vikings, who led 37-33 at
halftime.
The Pioneers improved their shooting to a 48 percent 28-for-59 level. The Vikings had a 34 percent 26-for-77 afternoon. Northland struggled through a 10-for-21 free throw game; Ocean County was 5-for-10. Behind Durand and Klein, Northland built a 48-40 edge on the boards to help compensate for a 20-12 high figure in the turnover department. “Our players definitely wanted to end a great season on a win,” noted Nelson. “This game was pretty back and forth, but we went on a run in the second half where we really attacked in transition and got easy looks. That one run was the difference in the game.” It was a banner season, but Nelson said the Pioneers had hoped to fare better at the national level. “To be honest, Id have to say we were a little disappointed in how the weekend turned out,” she offered. “We made so many mistakes in those first two games between turnovers, giving up offensive boards, missing lay-ups and missing free throws. When you realize that you could have won those games by eliminating some of those mistakes, it’s pretty frustrating. However, we really want to look at the season in its entirety. Although the weekend didn’t so as we had hoped, we were one of the few teams in the nation that
got to end its season with a win. A 27-4 record is definitely impressive, and I hope the players can look back on the season with a sense of pride.” NCTC vs. Westchester 1 2 T
Westchester ....................28 35 63
Northland.........................26 32 58
Westchester - Hayley Awerdick
15, Ayanna Behagen 12, Emonni
Crooper 15, Sara Franco 8, Neilia
McKenzie 2, Jessica Rabaa 9,
Kerniesha Williams 2.
Northland - Jenna Lundon 18,
Eva Lampert 11, Britta Glass 2, Tia
Klein 6, Caitlin Hadrava 2, Sarah
Durand 19.
NCTC vs. Ocean County 1 2 T
Ocean County .................37 28 65
Northland.........................33 39 72
Ocean County - Heather Tice
21, Amber Nafziger 12, Christina
Reilly 4, Jackie Caravalle 7, Emily
Kuzman 9, Corinne Morgan 12.
Northland - Jenna Lundon 9,
Eva Lampert 8, Britta Glass 7,
Whitney Rogstad 8, Tia Klein 2,
Catlin Hadrava 12, Sarah Durand 26.