Jimmies women's hoops fight back in 80-74 win over Morningside

Jan. 24—SIOUX CITY, Iowa. — The University of Jamestown women's basketball team was down by 14 points midway through the third quarter but they managed to mount a comeback in an 80-74 win over Morningside University on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the Mustangs' Allee Gymnasium.

"It feels really exciting," Jimmies head coach Thad Sankey said. "Our team has done a great job of just handling a game-by-game approach and we've got a stretch of road games here that's pretty unique and challenging and each one is different. One thing that we talked about in the locker room is the equation to win each one of these games is going to be something different and we have to be prepared to figure out what that equation is."

The Jimmies (11-8, 7-6) started the game well getting out to a 7-3 lead, however, the Mustangs (10-8, 7-6) were able to tie the game up at 11 and take their first lead at 13-11, part of a 14-2 run for the hosts that saw them stretch it out to 23-13.

"We started off getting great shots and converting but defensively we just weren't really cohesive and even though we were scoring it well in the first three or four minutes, we were giving those points back and then our offense slowed down," Sankey said. "Audrey was creating some great shots for us early and then we subbed her and we just weren't able to get the same perimeter shots even though she's one of our interior players, our guards weren't able to wiggle free the same. So, there was just a couple things that came together that made that first quarter, made it unique."

The biggest differences in the first half came at the free throw line and in the turnover margin. The Jimmies had 10 turnovers in the first half and 12 points off those giveaways. On the other end, the Mustangs had eight turnovers and the Jimmies scored eight points on those turnovers. The Jimmies sent the Mustangs to the stripe for 13 free throws of which they hit 12, while the Jimmies went six-for-six from the line.

At the half, Sankey said he told his team that their defensive effort needed to be greater as they tried to erase the 43-30 deficit.

The Mustangs kept it going in the third quarter stretching the lead out to 14 points at 58-44 with 3:42 to go in the frame. However, the Jimmies would not lay down as Samantha Paulsen responded with a three to cut the deficit to 58-47, kickstarting a 12-5 run to head into the fourth quarter trailing 63-59.

"Morningside had played in rhythm offensively for the entire first half," Sankey said. "So, our defensive pressure got them out of rhythm and forced some turnovers, we capitalized and also the flip side to that is our scoring. We had a 29-point third quarter and that's huge and that gave us a ton of confidence and built us up from that perspective and we were able to take that into the fourth."

The Jimmies took their first lead since 11-8 on a Paulsen layup to push her team in front 66-65 with 8:21 to go in the game. The freshman set a new career high with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting.

"I thought her energy was fantastic," Sankey said. "Something that she's been working on is playing at the right speed, a speed that she can decision make. She's a great athlete and she's super explosive. ... She got some layups and a couple shots right at the rim in transition off of turnovers but when she shot the ball from three it was a real comfort zone for her and it was cool to see."

The teams traded shots over the next three minutes as there were six lead changes and the teams shot a combined 6-for-8 from the field. The Jimmies' Audrey Rodakowski put an end to the back-and-forth nature of the game as she hit a jumper to push her team in front 72-71 with 5:51 to go in the game. The Jimmies finished the game from there on an 8-3 run to get the win. Rodakowski finished the game with 18 points, as she has now scored over 15 points in three consecutive games, the longest such streak in her career.

The Jimmies return to the floor at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, when they go to Mount Marty University.

UJ 80, MU 74

UJ: 15 15 29 21 — 80

MU: 23 20 20 11-74

Points leaders:

UJ: Kia Tower 19, Samantha Paulsen 18, Audrey Rodakowski 18, Kate Cordes 16

MU: Lily Vollertsen 20, Alexis Spier 17, Sam Ehlers 8

Assists leaders:

UJ: Tower 10, Kate Busek 4, Cordes 3

MU: Olivia Larsen 5, Chloe Lofstrom 3, Spier 2, Chaise Pfanstiel 2, Jordyn Carr 2, Vollertsen 1, Ehlers 1, Ella Wragge 1, Tonja Heirigs 1, Jaeden Webb 1, Lauren Hedlund 1

Leading rebounders:

UJ: Tower 6, Cordes 6, Rodakowski 6, Megan Oswald 2

MU: Larsen 7, Carr 5, Ehlers 3, Wragge 3, Lofstrom 2, Webb 2, Hedlund 2, Spier 1, Pfanstiel 1, Vollertsen 1