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Nowak leads Jimmies past Chargers

University of Jamestown's Marina Nowak drives past Taylor Vasa of Briar Cliff Wednesday at the Harold Newman Arena. Nowak scored 24 points in the victory. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 2
University of Jamestown's Mya Buffetta moves to get past Taylor Wagner of Briar Cliff Wednesday at the Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

University of Jamestown women's basketball coach Thad Sankey approached senior forward Marina Nowak Wednesday morning and asked her: "In what ways can you score the basketball?"

Nowak responded with: "'I can do it from the high post and I work well with Jenna Doyle."

The talk must've worked as the senior had a career night of 24 points and 14 rebounds off the bench as the Jimmies defeated Briar Cliff University 65-51 at Harold Newman Arena.

Jamestown is now 4-1 on the year and won its inaugural Great Plains Athletic Conference contest with the victory. Briar Cliff dropped to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in GPAC play.

"It was a career night for her," Sankey said about Nowak. "She's a special player in terms of what kind of impact she can have on the game. Her dominance around the offensive and defensive boards is fun to watch and when she gets to the rim off one dribble it's really hard to stop."

Nowak's rebounding ability was on display during the first quarter after grabbing five, including three offensive boards. She hit 1 of 2 free throws to give the Jimmies a 12-9 lead with 1:09 left in the first quarter.

The Rogers, Minn. native was finally rewarded for her stellar rebounding as Mya Buffetta tossed a full-court pass to Nowak in transition for the easy bucket. The score extended the Jimmies' lead to 21-14 nearly halfway through the second quarter.

"They always tell me to get out and run and they'll throw it," Nowak explained. "So I just ran fast as I could to get the layup."

Jamestown went into the intermission leading Briar Cliff 25-23, including Nowak's five points and seven rebounds.

Nowak scored four more points in the third quarter, before taking over the fourth with 15 points. Overall the senior shot 10-for-13 from the floor (76 percent), with a pair of steals in 25 minutes played. The Jimmies led for the final 29 minutes of the contest to seal the 14-point victory.

"She has the ability to grab a game single handedly and give us three possessions in a row," Sankey said. "It's so great to have mature seniors like her because she understands choosing her spots well and likes playing against zones."

Jamestown grabbed 52 rebound as a team, including 20 offensive boards. The Jimmies scored 14 second chance points off the opportunities.

"That was a key for us," Sankey said about the rebounding. "We knew that as aggressive as Briar Cliff's zone is, it left holes and shots went up. Our bigs did a nice job of working and grabbing rebounds. And in Marina's case, we had putbacks."

Turnovers were also a big difference maker as Jamestown forced 21 and scored 24 points off the miscues.

The win was a nice rebound for the Jimmies after falling to 16th-ranked rival Valley City State University 67-55 back on Monday. Jamestown shot 17-for-61 (29.9 percent) from the floor and was outrebounded 48-31.

"I was proud of the way our girls came out and competed tonight," Sankey said. "It was a quick turnaround from Monday against Valley City and sometimes those rivalry games have an emotional let down. But we have a group of tough-nosed girls and they came out ready to fight it out."

The Jimmies will host Doane University (2-2 overall, 0-1) Saturday at 3 p.m., during their second GPAC conference game of the season.

"The GPAC is going to be competitive," Sankey said. "Doane is going to bring some man-to-man defense and just a lot of tough competition."

University of Jamestown 65, Briar Cliff University 51

BC 12 11 9 19 -- 51

UJ 12 13 14 26 -- 65

BC—Faith Troshynski 13, Jadyn Bussinger 10, Alyssa Carley 9, Logan Ehlers 7, Taylor Wagner 5, Taylor Vasa 4, Mya Hendry 2, Patricia Martinez Sanz 1. Totals 18-61 FG, 8-16 FT, 7-23 3-pointers (Troshynski 2, Bussinger 2), 32 Rebounds (Martinez Sanz 6, Wagner 5), 18 Fouls, 7 Assists, 2 Blocks, 14 Steals (Carley 4).

UJ—Marina Nowak 24, Mya Buffetta 10, Emma Stoehr 6, Jory Mullen 6, Jenna Doyle 5, Paige Schmidt 4, Noelle Josephson 4, Kasey Harper 2, Grace Benz 2, Mackenzie Sparby 2. 26-63 FG, 10-16 FT, 3-26 3-pointers (Buffetta 2), 52 Rebounds (Nowak 14, Mullen 7, Paige Schmidt 6, Doyle 5), 16 Fouls, 16 Assists (Stoehr 6), 23 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Doyle 2), 9 Steals.

Records: Jamestown 4-1. Briar Cliff 3-1.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853
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