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No. 9 Jimmies top Warriors in NSAA Tournament quarterfinal

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Matt Oliver

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The University of Jamestown notched its 13th straight win, pulling away for an 88-49 victory over the Waldorf College women’s basketball team during Wednesday’s North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Tournament quarterfinal.

It was a strong defensive effort from the Warriors (2-24) early in the contest. The Jimmies (27-4) entered the night ranked No. 9 in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II poll. Jamestown led 37-20 and began to wear down Waldorf, outscoring the Warriors 51-29 in the second half.

“Defensively, it was good to see us execute our game plan,” Waldorf coach Katie Schutjer said. “I felt we did a good job until we got tired.”

The Jimmies shot 48.6 percent, going 35-of-72 from the field and owned the paint where they outscored the Warriors by a 48-24 margin. Jamestown turned in a solid inside-outside performance, which included an 8-of-19 (42.1-percent) effort from 3-point range.

The Jimmies, who turned the ball over just nine times, upped their shooting in the second half. They knocked down 20-of-35 (57.1 percent) attempts from the floor and hit 5-of-10 (50 percent) shots from downtown during the final 20 minutes of the game.

Waldorf was limited to 33.9 percent shooting, finishing 19-of-56 from the field and 3-of-18 (16.7 percent) behind the arc. Twenty-six turnovers also slowed the Warriors as Jamestown collected 21 steals and cashed in with a 30-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

“Offensively, we struggled and turned the ball over too many times,” Schutjer said.

Ameh Ogbemudia led Waldorf with a game-high 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The 6-foot freshman center from St. Francis, Minnesota turned in team-highs, handing out three assists and blocking two shots.

Freshman Samantha Birkes scored 13 points for the Warriors and handed out two assists.

Waldorf freshman Taylor Fricke and sophomore Jessica Denholm added six points each. Fricke ripped down a game-high 12 rebounds to power Waldorf to a 40-35 advantage on the boards.

Waldorf received four points, 11 rebounds and two assists from freshman Kassidy Bunger. Freshman Meriel Leavy closed out the night with two points. Fricke and Denholm also contributed two assists apiece.

McKayla Orr led the charge for the Jimmies with 14 points, shooting 6-of-8 (75 percent) from the field and draining both of her 3-point attempts. Orr was also disruptive on the defensive end with five steals.

Jamestown’s Jessica Buck, a first-team All-American last season, provided 12 points and a game-high five assists. Buck, who’s 16th in the nation with 18.6 points a game, turned in a 62.5-percent shooting clip as she went 5-of-8 from the floor.

Tayler Hammer chipped in with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds for the Jimmies, who also received nine points and five steals from Kyra Dewald. Production up and down the lineup fueled Jamestown to the win as four other players contributed six points or more. The Jimmies produced 24 assists while netting 35 field goals.

Jamestown converted on 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) trips to the free-throw line while the Warriors sank 8-of-10 (80 percent) foul shots.

Despite being outworked 14-13 on the offensive glass, the Jimmies came away with a 12-7 edge in second-chance points.

Jamestown owned an 18-10 lead after one quarter and pushed its advantage to 17 points at halftime. The Jimmies stretched their lead to 64-37 while outscoring Waldorf 27-17 in the third quarter. Jamestown continued to pull away in the fourth behind a 24-12 advantage.

The Jimmies, who won this year’s NSAA regular-season title with a 12-0 league record, aim to repeat as conference tournament champions as they advance to Friday’s NSAA Tournament semifinal and host Mayville State University (16-12).

The loss ended the season for the Warriors, who are looking to hit it hard during the offseason.

“Going into next year, the girls are going to have to put in a lot of work in the weight room and in the gym continuing to improve,” Schutjer said. “We have some good talent, but it’s up to them to turn it into skill.”

Waldorf’s team featured seven freshmen, one sophomore and two juniors this season. With a young team ready to build on the experiences of this season, there’s a bright future ahead for the Warriors as they begin to prepare for the 2016-17 campaign.

“We have to continue to add some pieces to the puzzle recruiting wise and fill some positions with more young talent,” Schutjer said. “I am excited to see how this team will continue to develop. For being a young team, they accomplished more than what our win-loss record shows.”