Kia Tower came up clutch in her first career start for the University of Jamestown women's basketball team Wednesday at Harold Newman Arena.
The 5-foot-6 freshman guard from Bigfork, Minnesota, buried a pair of 3-pointers to kickoff overtime hosting Briar Cliff University. The Jimmies would hold on to defeat the Chargers 71-67 in OT, with Tower leading the Jimmies offensively with 14 total points.
"She's a player who for her whole career, she's been used to shouldering a load and having responsibilities and her team trusting her to create and to score and to make decisions," said UJ women's basketball coach Thad Sankey in an interview with AM 1400 ESPN Jamestown. "When she moves into the starting lineup and we ask the same things from her, it's something that she's comfortable with.
"It's something that she's really earned."
Tower's clutch 3-pointers handed the Jimmies a 65-59 advantage with 3 minutes, 56 seconds to play in the five-minute overtime period, and UJ needed it all as the Chargers (5-14, 2-9 Great Plains Athletic Conference) fought back to tie the score at 67-67 with 54 seconds remaining. UJ eventually won the game at the foul line, with junior Emma Stoehr dropping in a pair of double bonus shots with 18 seconds to play and freshman Hannah DeMars following suit with 6 seconds left to produce the final score.
The Chargers had a chance to possibly tie the game, or take the lead, following Stoehr's freebies, but a steal by UJ's Mackenzi Higlin turned Briar Cliff over for a 30th time in the game and set up DeMars' insurance makes. Jamestown struggled to take care of the basketball once again as well, also recording 30 turnovers as the Jimmies (11-7, 5-6 GPAC) are averaging 21.1 turnovers per contest in 2019-20.
"They just close out every pass and we had a hard time understanding what the concept means," Sankey said. "They get your eyes down and you do dumb things, and we did dumb things and that's how we end up with 30 turnovers."
Stoehr finished with 13 points, while Courtney Mosloski posted 12 points and six rebounds off the bench before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Briar Cliff's Konnor Sudmann (26 points) and Madelyn Deitchler (23) combined to score 49 of BC's 67 points.
But the Jimmies found a way to tie the game at 59-59 at the end of regulation after trailing 53-50 with 3:48 to play in the fourth quarter. UJ hosts Doane University (1-16, 0-12) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Regular UJ starter Noelle Josephson was sitting out Wednesday's action with an apparent injury.
"I felt like we kept working and problem-solving late in the fourth and into overtime, just with the offensive looks that we were working on," Sankey said. "Kia knocking down a couple shots to start overtime was big."
(RV) University of Jamestown 71, Briar Cliff University 67 OT
BC 17 12 10 20 8 -- 67
UJ 19 12 12 16 12 -- 71
BC -- Konnor Sudmann 26, Madelyn Deitchler 23, Breanna Allen 9, Alyssa Carley 4, Shannon Sokolowski 3, Payton Slaughter 2. Totals: 24-57 FG, 5-16 3-pointers (Allen 3, Deitchler, Sokolowski), 14-17 FT, 35 Rebounds (Sudmann 6, Deitchler 6), 14 Assists (Slaughter 4), 25 Fouls (Carley, Jadyn Bussinger), 13 Steals, 30 Turnovers, 3 Blocks.
UJ -- Kia Tower 14, Emma Stoehr 13, Courtney Mosloski 12, Mackensi Higlin 8, Hannah DeMars 7, Macy Nilsen 5, Paige Schmidt 5, Olivia Anderson 4, Grace Benz 3. Totals: 26-66 FG, 9-29 3-pointers (Tower 4, Stoehr 3, Nilsen, Schmidt), 10-14 FT, 43 Rebounds (Mosloski 6, Correy Hickman 6), 20 Assists (Hickman 5), Fouls (Mosloski), 11 steals (Tower 3, Higlin 3), 30 Turnovers, 4 Blocks (4 with 1).
Records: Jamestown 11-7, 5-6 GPAC. Briar Cliff 5-14, 2-9.