An opportunity to increase the odds of receiving an at-large bid into the NAIA Division II women's basketball national tournament next month went by the wayside for the University of Jamestown on Wednesday at Harold Newman Arena.
The Jimmies overcame a cold, 1-for-14 performance from the field to open play against visiting Northwestern College, and came back from 21 down to tie the contest at 48-48 to begin the fourth quarter. But six 3-pointers and 26 total points by the Red Raiders' Devyn Kemble were too big a mountain to climb.
Kemble stuck two of Northwestern's five 3-pointers over the final 10 minutes, as the Red Raiders rolled 77-70 over the Jimmies.
"That's kinda been our problem lately," said UJ freshman guard Macy Nilsen, who led the Jimmies with 16 points. "Digging ourselves a deep hole and having to come back from it, but I thought we did a really good job tonight coming back."
Nilsen played a role offensively, making 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and scoring 10 in the first half to keep the Jimmies viable heading into the break trailing 39-27. The Raiders buried 6 of 9 from downtown in the first quarter, leaping ahead 18-2 as the Jimmies' offense sputtered.
But an 8-0 UJ run to start the second half, and a Nilsen 3 later in the frame, helped UJ storm back to tie the game after three quarters. Nilsen went scoreless over six minutes of playing time in last Saturday's loss at No. 2 Hastings, and the Edina, Minnesota product hadn't reached double figures since Dec. 11.
Her 16 points is a new career-high.
"As a team, I think we just kinda came together," Nilsen said. "We were finding the people that were hitting the shots and had the most momentum, so I thought we did a really good job of finding the open player."
But the Red Raiders took command in the fourth. Taylor Vandervelde scored five of her 17, and 3s by Kemble and Bre Schuiteman had Northwestern leading 59-50 early. The visitors stayed in command and lept over UJ in the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings at 10-9.
Jamestown (16-11, 9-10 GPAC) dropped to seventh in the league with the loss but is still in the running to qualify for the GPAC postseason tournament. The Jimmies missed postseason play last winter, finishing at 14-16.
The Jimmies have three conference games left to the regular season, starting at No. 7 Morningside College on Saturday in Sioux City. The Mustangs topped UJ 62-57 in Jamestown on Dec. 14.
"We have a February mentality right now," Nilsen said. "We're trying not to dwell on the past ... we're just kinda gearing up for the next game. We've had two losses back to back but I think that just makes us more hungry, so we're excited."
(RV) Northwestern College 77, (RV) University of Jamestown 70
NC 27 12 9 29 -- 77
UJ 12 15 21 22 -- 70
NC -- Devyn Kemble 26, Taylor VanderVelde 17, Sammy Blum 11, Emilee Danner 8, Bre Schuiteman 9, Alexis Toering 2, Jada Cunningham 2, Maddie Jones 2. Totals: 26-61 FG, 12-25 3-pointers (Kemble 6, Schuiteman 3, Danner 2, Blum), 13-15 FT, 39 Rebounds (Toering 9), 22 Fouls, 12 Assists (Cunningham 4), 18 Turnovers, 10 Steals (VanderVelde 3).
UJ -- Macy Nilsen 16, Noelle Josephson 13, Grace Benz 7, Kia Tower 6, Hannah DeMars 6, Olivia Anderson 6, Mackensi Higlin 5, Courtney Mosloski 5, Correy Hickman 4, Emma Stoehr 2. Totals: 25-67 FG, 8-18 3-pointers (Josephson 3, Nilsen 3, Anderson, Benz), 12-17 FT, 39 Rebounds (DeMars 7), 14 Fouls, 10 Assists (Tower 4), 18 Turnovers, 10 Steals (Josephson 2, Benz 2).
Records: Northwestern 15-9, 10-9 GPAC. Jamestown 16-11, 9-10.