Vikings hold off RochesterWhen the pressure was on, the Valley City State women’s basketball team got aggressive. Despite being held without a field goal for the final 5 minutes, 9 seconds of their game against Rochester (Minn.), the Vikings were able to get to the free-throw line and go 8-of-10.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
When the pressure was on, the Valley City State women’s basketball team got aggressive.
Despite being held without a field goal for the final 5 minutes, 9 seconds of their game against Rochester (Minn.), the Vikings were able to get to the free-throw line and go 8-of-10.
“Situations like that, it helps a lot to be able to make shots from the line,” VCSU’s Brittany Lehner said.
“Otherwise, being aggressive doesn’t do anything for you.”
Third-seeded VCSU used the free ones to advance to the semifinal round of the Association of Independent Institutions tournament with a 57-52 win Friday afternoon at the Civic Center. The Vikings (23-6) play second-seeded Mayville State (20-4) at 1 p.m. today with a berth to nationals on the line.
“It’s tournament time, and there are certain things you’ve got to do,” VCSU coach Jill DeVries said. “You’ve got to rebound, you’ve got to play defense and you’ve got to make free throws. Also make bunnies, and I don’t think we did a great job of making bunnies, but we did a good job down the stretch of making free throws.”
Lehner finished with a game-high 14 points on 5-of-9 from the field. She made all four of her free throws in the second half and was part of a 20-of-23 performance from the charity stripe as a team.
“You go that long without making a field goal, you’ve got to be aggressive,” said Lehner of her team’s 5-minute lull at the end. “When we were aggressive, we could get to the line, and you’ve got to knock them down in that situation.”
Steph Pedersen, a Mandan native, didn’t sink a field goal, but made nine of her 10 free-throw attempts including a 4-of-4 effort in the final 2:07 to help seal the win.
The Vikings actually turned the ball over on an out of bounds play with 27 seconds remaining and only ahead by three, but a Rochester 3-pointer missed the rim entirely, leading to the Vikings’ execution at the line.
VCSU used a 13-0 first-half run to build a 38-25 lead at halftime.
Rochester fought back by burying five 3-pointers from five different players in less than 5 minutes in the second half to get back within striking distance, eventually taking the lead (48-47) on a jumper from Sam Tomaschko at the shot-clock buzzer with 5:28 to go. Sixth-seeded Rochester (13-14) managed only four points the rest of the way and was led in scoring by Tomaschko’s 11 points.
Valley City State 57, Rochester (Mich.) 52
Rochester 25 52
Valley City 38 57
Rochester: Sam Tomaschko 11, Jazzmone Russell 10, Ka’imana Ka’aikala 8, Meagan Heiden 7, Lexy Newsom 5, Ke’ala Ka’aikala 5, Rayenne Kaiser 3, Erika Wasson 3. Totals 18-50 6-10 52
Valley City State: Brittany Lehner 14, Steph Pedersen 9, Sadiquah Jihad 7, Courtney Titus 7, Kelsey Hunter 6, Courtney Dixon 5, Ashli Lee 4, Mariah Smith 3, Alyssa Hummel 2. Totals 17-51 20-23 57
3-pointers: R 10-29 (Russell 3, Ka’imana Ka’aikala 2, Newsom, Ke’ala Ka’aikala, Tomaschko, Wasson, Heiden), VC 3-20 (Jihad, Titus, Smith). Rebounds: R 32 (Tomaschko 11), VC 38 (Pedersen 9). Assists: R 11 (Newsom 6), VC 11 (Pedersen 4). Steals: R 4 (Newsom 2), VC 7 (Titus 3). Blocks: R 2 (Tomaschko), VC 1 (Jihad). Fouls: R 20, VC 10. Fouled out: R, Ka’imana Ka’aikala. Turnovers: R 20, VCSU 17.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org