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Jimmies women's hoops run ends with 72-63 loss to Marian in Sweet 16

Mar. 21—SIOUX CITY, Iowa. — The clock struck midnight for the No. 12-seeded University of Jamestown as they lost 72-63 To No. 1-seeded Marian University in the Sweet 16 of the NAIA Women's Basketball National Tournament on Thursday, March 21, at the Tyson Events Center.

"(The) emotions were high, but so grateful because we were able to get that far. I honestly didn't know how to feel when it first ended," Jimmies senior Audrey Rodakowski said.

The run was the Jimmies' deepest into the tournament since the 2017-18 season, when they made the Elite 8.

The Jimmies (19-12) took an early 5-2 lead but the Knights responded with a 6-0 run to take an 8-5 lead. The Knights kept their run up from there taking a 21-9 lead early in the second quarter, drawing a Jimmies timeout. Out of the stoppage, the Jimmies found their groove cutting the deficit to 23-18, but the Knights continued to punch back as they took a 37-29 lead into the half.

The biggest difference in the first half was the Knights' ability to get to the free throw line as both teams shot similarly from the floor and from three but the Jimmies shot 3-for-6 from the line and the Knights shot 9-for-10. In the opening half, the Jimmies shot 11-for-25 from the field and 4-for-9 from three. The Knights shot 13-for-27 from the field and 2-for-5 from three.

The third quarter started all Knights as they took a 42-31 lead thanks to a layup from Abbey McNally who got hit in the face by a Jimmie for her troubles. After the refs came together and reviewed the play they sent both teams to the foul line with the Jimmies' Hannah Hagel hitting both at the line to cut the deficit to 42-33 and then the Knights' Ella Collier split the pair at the line to push the lead out to 43-33. Jimmies head coach Thad Sankey said the officials ruled that Hagel drew a foul on the Jimmies end and fouled McNally on the previous play that was reviewed in the stoppage. The Knights kept it up from there pushing the lead out to 59-45 heading into the third.

Early in the fourth, the Knights (33-1) hit a layup to push the lead out to 61-45 but the Jimmies would claw their way back as they cut the deficit to 65-58. The Knights punched back and pulled away late for the nine-point win.

In the second half, the Jimmies shot 9-for-31 from the field, 2-for-8 from three and 14-for-17 from the free throw line. On the other side, the Knights shot 13-for-27 from the field, 2-for-8 from three and 7-for-10 from the stripe.

The game serves as the final chapter for the Jimmies' Kia Tower and Audrey Rodakowski who have combined to play in 263 games, scoring 2,898 career points. Tower has also become the Jimmies' all-time leading scorer with 1,834 career points. Through Tower's five-year career, the Jimmies went 90-61 overall.

"For Audrey, her last two years have just been so impactful for us in terms of being a cornerstone defensive player and really seeing her offensive game grow and grow and grow and understand the strength and power she had in terms of scoring," Sankey said. "So, obviously, statistically, Audrey's over a thousand points and is in a couple other players in terms of record books. But, I think that component, I think the defensive component is a such a big part to it. Kia has been such a prolific and impactful and you can measure it in a lot of different ways, obviously the latest and the biggest is career leading scorer for us but for both of them, the way that they compete on a daily basis. I think their biggest legacy piece is what our team's done. What's our team done in the time that we've been here, where have we come from and to finish their college career at the final site in Sioux City, is just a testament in itself to what they've done for us."

UJ 63, MU 72

UJ: 9 20 16 18 — 63

MU: 16 21 22 13 — 72

Points leaders:

UJ: Kate Cordes 24, Kia Tower 13, Audrey Rodakowski 8

MU: Kinnidy Garrard 17, Abbey McNally 16, Allison Bosse 10

Assists leaders:

UJ: Tower 3, Kate Busek 2, Cordes 1, Rodakowski 1, Megan Oswald 1

MU: Ella Collier 4, Sara Majorosova 4, Aliyah Evans 2, Tamia Perryman 1, McNally 1, Bosse 1

Leading rebounders:

UJ: Oswald 6, Hannah Hagel 4, Busek 4, Jailyn Martinson 4, Samantha Paulsen 3

MU: McNally 14, Garrard 8, Collier 3