The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 1, 2014

AU women prevail in double OT

Herald Staff Report
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Madison Wagner went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 18 seconds of the second overtime to seal Ashford's 73-69 win against Rochester (Mich.) on Friday night that put the Saints in tonight's championship game of the Association of Independent Institutions women's basketball tournament.

The Kehl Arena home court was good to the Saints (10-20), who will face top seed Indiana University Northwest in today's 5 p.m. title game.

Jessica Mlachnik forced the first overtime for the Saints when she made a layup with 2 seconds left in regulation, then Jennifer Forge scored with 13 seconds left in the first overtime to knot the score at 63.

"We had a lot of kids step up and make plays," Ashford coach Kelly Kruger said. "Jess at the end of regulation, Forge in both overtimes and Madison hit some big free throws for us. We are excited to be in the game tomorrow."

Janell Anthony opened the second overtime with a basket with 4:44 left to give the Saints a lead they never lost. Quinn Rear pushed the lead to 67-64 with 4:03 left, then neither team scored again until a layup by Ka'ala Ka'aikala brought Rochester within 67-66 with 20 seconds left.

Wagner was fouled 2 seconds later and made a pair of free throws. She was fouled again after stealing the ball and made two more with 13 seconds left. After a 3-pointer by Meagen Heiden (12 points) cut the lead to 71-69, Wagner made two more free throws with 4 seconds left to clinch it.

Wagner scored a team-high 18 points for the Saints. Elizabeth Nardi added 12, Forge had 11, and Rear and Sarah Vozel added 10 each for Ashford. Forge (12 rebounds) and Wagner (10) also finished with double-doubles.

"It was a great team effort," Kruger said. "I thought we overcame a lot of adversity with foul trouble.

"Give Rochester a lot of credit. They came out and punched us in the mouth right away in the first half."

Led by Ka'aikala, who scored 14 of her game-high 29 points in the first half, Rochester built a 29-21 halftime advantage. A key was a 10-0 run after the teams were tied 8-8.

"I thought the last 10 minutes of the first half we were able to regroup, which carried over to the second half," Kruger said. "I was very impressed with how we approached the second half. I thought our kids had good execution on both ends of the floor."

Ashford erased the rest of the halftime deficit over the first eight minutes of the second half, taking a 35-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Wagner. After a pair of ties, at 35 and 37, a 3-pointer by Wagner started a 7-0 Ashford run. The Saints eventually increased the lead to 48-38 on a layup by Nardi with 4:56 remaining. The lead was still 10, 52-42, when Rear connected from beyond the arc with 2:46 left.

Instead of closing out the win, though, the Saints found themselves unable to finish off Rochester. The Warriors scored 12 points in a row, capped by a three-point play by Heiden with 8 seconds remaining that gave them a 54-52 lead.

But, Mlachnik hit her basket with 2 seconds left, tying the game for the seventh time and forcing overtime.

Indiana University Northwest 95,

Johnson & Wales 68

Nicki Monahan poured in 39 points and teammate Megan Holland had a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead top-seeded Indiana University Northwest to a 95-68 rout of Johnson & Wales in the first women's semifinal Friday afternoon.

Despite the lopsided final score, the game was quite competitive throughout the first half.

Johnson & Wales led from the 17:25 mark of the first half until a 3-pointer by Monahan pulled the RedHawks even at 18 with 12:52 left. The rest of the half featured four more ties and each team taking the lead on four occasions. Indiana Northwest went ahead to stay, 33-32, with 5:07 left in the half on a layup by Holland.

The RedHawks opened the second half on an 8-3 run, then used a 15-2 surge moments later to push the advantage to 71-50 with 9:50 left in the game.

ASHFORD 73, ROCHESTER 69 (2 OT)

ROCHESTER (12-16) — Ka'ala Ka'aikala 7-18 14-19 29, Emily Hale 1-2 0-0 2, Kari Burton 1-2 0-0 3, Josie Wiltse 0-7 5-6 5, Jazzmone Russell 2-6 2-2 8, Erica Schwartz 0-4 0-1 0, Leeza Donald 0-1 0-0 0, Keearra Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Charney 0-1 0-0 0, Tiffany Misch 4-13 1-2 10, Meagen Heiden 3-9 4-5 12, O. Delgado-Price 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-63 26-35 69.

ASHFORD (10-20) — Elizabeth Nardi 6-10 0-3 12, Janell Anthony 2-3 1-2 5, Sarah Vozel 3-9 4-6 10, Jessica Mlachnik 1-6 3-4 5, Madison Wagner 4-8 8-8 18, Jennifer Forge 5-8 1-7 11, Briaunna Guthrie 1-8 0-0 2, Courtney Panus 0-0 0-0 0, Quinn Rear 4-12 0-0 10. Totals 26-64 17-30 73.

Halftime — Rochester 29-21. End of regulation — Tied at 54. End of first overtime — Tied at 63. 3-point goals — Rochester 7-28 (Russell 2-5, Heiden 2-6, Ka'aikala 1-2, Burton 1-2, Misch 1-7, Charney 0-1, Schwartz 0-2, Wiltse 0-3); Ashford 4-15 (Wagner 2-2, Rear 2-8, Guthrie 0-5. Total fouls — Rochester 25, Ashford 28. Fouled out — Nardi, Vozel, Mlachnik. Technical foul — Ashford team. Rebounds — Rochester 41 (Ka'aikala 10, Heiden 8); Ashford 53 (Forge 12, Wagner 10). Assists — Rochester 9 (Wiltse 3, Misch 3); Ashford 14 (Vozel 4, Wagner 4). Blocked shots — Rochester 1 (Heiden); Ashford 2 (Wagner, Guthrie). Steals — Rochester 9 (Ka'aikala 4); Ashford 7 (Mlachnik 2, Wagner 2). Turnovers — Rochester 13, Ashford 16.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST 95, JOHNSON & WALES 68

JOHNSON & WALES (12-21) — Kristen Ward 4-14 4-7 13, Bailey Ford 2-6 0-0 5, Amanda Weber 5-9 2-3 16, Courtney Shirley 6-15 8-11 24, Alex Courtney 1-3 0-0 2, Tori Curneen 1-5 1-2 4, Tameka Manning 1-5 1-2 4, Caitlyn Steffen 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Gallegos 0-0 0-0 0, Kaleigh Wisroth 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-57 16-25 68.

IU NORTHWEST (22-8) — Megan Holland 11-18 1-3 23, Danielle Zandstra 2-5 2-2 6, Rebecca Theriault 2-5 0-0 5, Bernadette Grabowski 3-5 3-3 10, Nicki Monahan 14-24 4-5 39, Annmarie Keller 0-0 2-2 2, Faith Dammerell 0-0 0-0 0, Brianne Wischman 2-3 0-0 5, Briana Lewin 0-0 0-0 0, Brooke Gardener 0-3 4-4 4, Brittany Slicker 0-0 0-0 0, Valerie Zulevic 0-6 1-2 1. Totals 34-69 17-21 95.

Halftime — IU Northwest 43-37. 3-point goals — Johnson & Wales 12-33 (Weber 4-7, Shirley 4-9, Curneen 1-3, Manning 1-4, Ford 1-4, Ward 1-6); IU Northwest 10-22 (Monahan 7-15, Theriault 1-2, Grabowski 1-2, Wischman 1-2, Gardener 0-1). Total fouls — Johnson & Wales 19, IU Northwest 18. Fouled out — Curneen. Rebounds — Johnson & Wales 35 (Ford 9); IU Northwest 47 (Zandstra 12, Holland 11). Assists — Johnson & Wales 13 (Manning 5); IU Northwest 24 (Holland 6). Blocked shots — Johnson & Wales 5 (Ford 4); IU Northwest 4 (Holland 2, Zandstra 2). Steals — Johnson & Wales 3 (Ward 2); IU Northwest 13 (Holland 3, Zandstra 3). Turnovers — Johnson & Wales 18, IU Northwest 11.