RCTC, Minnesota West set to squre off again for women's national championship

Mar. 15—ROCHESTER — The No. 2 seeded and defending national champion Rochester Community and Technical College women's basketball team made it look easy Friday in the semifinals of the NJCAA Division III national tournament at Rochester Regional Sports Center.

The Yellowjackets buried Dallas College Cedar Valley 66-48, setting up a 5 p.m. Saturday final with Minnesota West Community and Technical College (Worthington).

RCTC (23-4) grabbed a 17-12 first-quarter lead and never looked back as it rode its defense and a dominant game from sophomore power forward Jada James.

RCTC limited DCCV to 28% field-goal shooting, while shooting 43% itself.

James used her superior strength to score 21 points and grab 16 rebounds. She hit 9 of 17 field-goal tries and all three of her free throws. James got those 21 points after only managing two points in the first half.

"Jada stepped up and did it in a big game," RCTC coach Jason Bonde said. "She's just got something in her. She found a way and a will to stay in the moment and be present and not get rattled. She fought like heck. She was just a tremendous player tonight."

James got plenty of help inside from Chatfield graduate Kara Goetzinger, a freshman. Goetzinger collected 19 rebounds as RCTC outrebounded its opponent by a whopping 46-27. Goetzinger also had 12 points.

RCTC point guard Macaya Copeland had 17 points and forward Janae Bennett 10.

Bonde raved about Copeland.

"She makes sure we are in the (offensive sets) we need to be in and she is playing stellar defense," Bonde said. "She's just someone who makes everyone better."

The Yellowjackets keep dominating despite being down to six players due to recent injuries.

No. 6 seed DCCV (19-6) had two double-figure scorers, Deja Thomas with 18 points and Mia Thomas with 14.

RCTC has now won its first two games in the national tournament by a combined 38 points.

RCTC and Minnesota West have played each other twice this season, splitting games. The Yellowjackets won 91-60 on Jan. 17 and Minnesota West won 75-68 on Feb. 14.

The two teams will have met the last three years in the national tournament. A year ago, RCTC beat the Bluejays in the championship game.

Complete box score

In a battle of Minnesota College Athletic Conference schools, Minnesota West (Worthington) pushed past Northland (East Grand Forks) 68-55 as it got 21 points and 11 rebounds from Olivia Hayenga and 20 points from Hattie DeVries

Minnesota West is the tournament's No. 1 seed, Northland No. 5.

Hayenga shot 8-for-14 from the field, including hitting 2 of 3 3-point attempts. DeVries was 9-for-12 from the floor.

Overall, Minnesota West was excellent offensively, shooting 46% from the field, including 38% on 3-pointers.

Northland was held to 34% shooting and was just 3-for-22 on treys.

Complete box score