College women's basketball: Things are looking up for Lady Jays

College women's basketball: Things are looking up for Lady Jays

College women's basketball: Things are looking up for Lady Jays

By Doug Wolter on Dec 12, 2018 at 9:51 p.m.
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Haley Unke (2) of Minnesota West drives past Little Priest Tribal College guard Amaya Leon (22) Wednesday night in Worthington. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)1 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- It's a good thing Lexie Ramsey doesn't tire easily. The Little Priest Warriors tried to turn Wednesday night's college women's basketball game into a track meet, but Ramsey and the Minnesota West Lady Jays kept their composure for a 95-82 victory in Worthington.

Ramsey, a 5-5 freshman guard from Rock Rapids, Iowa, scored 23 points in the game to go along with four assists, four rebounds and two steals. In high school, she competed in cross country and track and field and qualified for state in both sports, so she's used to going all out all the time.

"Energizer bunny," she said. "That's what I've been told. I've always been like that, ever since high school. I'm not gonna lie. I honestly don't get tired whenever I'm out there. Because I'm not thinking about it. I always just concentrate on my game and my teammates."

Little Priest Tribal College, which defeated the Lady Jays in overtime earlier this season, is a team lacking in height but not in energy. The Warriors have a deeper bench than the Jays, and there were moments when it appeared that the home team was beginning to tire -- especially in the third quarter when the Nebraska squad trimmed a double-figures West lead to 64-60. The Jays held firm, however.

"They're just a team that gets you to play in a frenzy," said West head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka. "When they get you to play like a track meet, it's to their advantage. They're a tough team to match up with. Everybody shoots the 3 and every player takes it to the basket."

Minnesota West reasserted itself late in the third quarter, taking a 72-65 lead into the fourth stanza. The lead became 80-67, was cut to 84-79 as Little Priest's Kylie McKinley got her own rebound, moved out beyond the corner 3-point arc and drained it -- but became 91-80 on a 3-point shot by Ramsey with 1:46 to go.

Two other Lady Jays scored in the 20s. Emily Shaffer was 11-for-21 from the field and had 25 points while pulling down 16 rebounds. And Avery Van Roekel scored 20 points on 5-for-11 field goal shooting and 10-for-12 free throw shooting. M'Kayla Mike had five assists.

The win was the third straight for Minnesota West, which seems to have righted itself after a 2-7 start.

"We played as a team today. That's a big boost for us, especially coming into the (Christmas) break," Ramsey said.

Teammate Haley Unke agreed.

"In practice we're becoming more like a team. We're cheering each other on. I think we're getting more used to how we all play," she testified about the freshman-dominated squad. "I think we're definitely on the right page. We know that we're capable of getting the job done now."

Talia Paytiamo led Little Priest with 21 points, and McKinley finished with 16. Minnesota West out-rebounded the Warriors 48-41, dished out 19 assists, and drained 32 of 45 free throws compared to the other team's 16 of 23.

But the Jays committed 29 turnovers to their rivals' 25 -- a statistic that wasn't as bad as it seemed in such a fast-breaking, pressing game.

Afterward, Hayenga-Hostikka said the turnovers were still too much, but the team appears headed in the right direction.

"I think we really turned the corner. I think the last three games we had almost 20 assists. I feel like we're learning to play with each other, at least going in the right direction," she said.

Little Priest 23 41 65 82Lady Jays 29 49 72 95LITTLE PRIEST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Joe 1-1-1-6, Begay 1-0-2-5, Leon 0-2-2-6, Harris 0-2-3-7, McKinley 4-2-0-16, Weinrich 0-2-0-4, Eddy 0-4-0-8, Washburn 1-0-0-3, Paytiamo 1-6-6-21, Clay 0-2-2-6. Totals 8-21-16-82.LADY JAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Mike 1-2-2-9, Ramsey 2-4-9-23, Schroer 1-0-5-8, Shaffer 1-10-2-25, Van Roekel 0-5-10-20, Unke 0-3-2-8, Pourier 0-0-2-2, Rosenberg 0-0-0-0. Totals 5-24-32-95.