A different defensive strategy was the driving force behind the University of Jamestown's first conference win over Dordt in women's basketball on Thursday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
A 2-3 zone frustrated the Defenders in the halfcourt and the Jimmies crashed the defensive glass in a convincing 69-58 victory on the road. The outcome snapped a string of five consecutive UJ losses to the Defenders dating back to 2018.
A massive win in terms of conference standing, Jamestown moves above .500 at 7-6 in the always competitive Great Plains Athletic Conference.
"Tonight we gave up 10 offensive rebounds and (Dordt) had to earn every single one of them," said UJ women's basketball coach Thad Sankey, crediting his players. "The first time we played they had six offensive rebounds in the first quarter."
Dordt previously sailed over the Jimmies 81-64 at Newman Arena on Dec. 8, with All-American senior forward Erika Feenstra scoring 23 points including nine unanswered in the third quarter that helped balloon a four-point Dordt lead to 62-46 entering the fourth.
Feenstra finished with just five points after attempting six shots from the field Thursday, as Jamestown packed in defensively around the basket to outrebound the Defenders 42-37 all told and limit their opponent to 20 of 61 shots from the field for 33%.
"We knew if we could get just enough closeouts to their shooters then that was something we could have success with," Sankey said. "Dordt's a really good team. We forced just enough misses from them and defensive rebounded incredibly."
The win snapped Dordt's five-game winning streak. The Defenders currently stand fourth in the conference at 9-5.
"(The Jimmies) have one of the best guard courts in the league, but I think we do, too, and they got the best of us tonight," said Dordt women's basketball coach Bill Harmsen in an interview with KDCR 88.5 FM radio.
The Defenders were limited to just two second-chance points all game.
"I can't wait to watch the tape, because we did an awful lot of spectating, too," Harmsen said. "Those are things that you try and take pride in and you kinda hang your hat on getting those extra possessions every game, and tonight we just weren't able to do that so let's tip our hat to Jamestown for a great scouting report and a great effort."
Jamestown limited Dordt to eight field goals on 30 shots in the first half -- leading 36-22 after two quarters -- and stifled Dordt's attempts to gain momentum in the second half by sticking shots when it mattered in the fourth quarter.
After trailing by as many as 16, Dordt was able to climb back to within five points twice in the fourth. But 3-point shots by Macy Savela, Hannah DeMars and Emma Stoehr over the final 10 minutes acted like baking soda to a kitchen fire, even as UJ's 6-foot Audrey Rodakowski fouled out with four minutes to play.
Noelle Josephson and Kia Tower led UJ offensively, each finishing with 16 points. DeMars scored 10 of her 14 in the final quarter.
Josephson (7 rebounds), Stoehr (6) and Rodakowski (6) paced UJ on the glass. The Jimmies forced 20 turnovers.
"I was really happy with our girls as we were changing defenses and going in and out," Sankey said. "We don't play zone very frequently and there were stretches where (Dordt) got good shots, especially late in the third and in the fourth, and for our girls to have the confidence to dig deeper in those situations and still stick with it and get stops in that zone was really impressive."
The Jimmies are scheduled to play at College of Saint Mary (1-12, 0-10) in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday at 2 p.m. Sankey said the Jimmies plan to ride out current wintry weather conditions in Orange City before heading to Omaha Friday evening.
"It'll be interesting," Sankey said. "But definitely a big win for us."
Dordt 87, (RV) Jamestown 68
A stagnant University of Jamestown offense that produced seven assists and one trip to the foul line was no match for the 50-percent shooting Defenders on their home court.
Jimmie men's basketball, which was the eighth team receiving votes in the latest NAIA top 25 coaches' poll released this week, lost a second consecutive game following a 28-9 Dordt run that opened the second half.
A pair of Bryce Coppock free throws capped the run and handed the Defenders their largest lead of the game at 72-44 with 9:10 remaining in the contest. Coppock buried 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and finished scoring 16, while Cade Bleeker nailed three more treys and scored 18, part of a 31-for-61 shooting performance by the Defenders that included making 12 of 24 from three-point range.
UJ senior Jack Talley capped a 9-0 Jimmies' spurt with a 3-pointer early in the first half, as the orange and black led briefly at 16-11 to begin the night. But 10 UJ turnovers, en route to 18 all told, contributed to a 44-35 Defenders' advantage at the break.
The Jimmies shot just over 40% for the game. Sophomore Mason Walters led the Jimmies with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Allante' Pickens tossed in 12 and both Talley and Cole Woodford finished scoring 11.
Jamestown dominated Dordt 91-74 at Harold Newman Arena on Dec. 8, receiving a double-double from Walters (28 points, 16 rebounds) and five 3-pointers and 21 points from guard Marc Kjos.
The Jimmies were coming off an 81-70 loss at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, last Saturday, having survived a low-scoring 49-47 contest on Jan. 7 at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.
The Jimmies, who dropped to fifth in the GPAC at 8-4, will attempt to right the ship next Wednesday (Jan. 20) hosting 11th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan (13-3, 9-2 GPAC) at 7 p.m. The Tigers currently trail No. 15 Morningside (14-2, 10-2) for the conference lead.
University of Jamestown 69, Dordt University 58
UJ 19 17 7 26 -- 69
DU 15 7 14 22 -- 58
UJ -- Noelle Josephson 16, Kia Tower 16, Hannah DeMars 14, Emma Stoehr 10, Audrey Rodakowski 8, Macy Savela 3, Correy Hickman 2. Totals: 23-59 FG, 5-16 3-pointers (Stoehr 2, DeMars, Josephson, Savela), 18-22 FT, 42 Rebounds (Josephson 7, Stoehr 6, Rodakowski 6), 10 Assists (Tower 3), 19 Fouls (Rodakowski 5), 10 Steals (DeMars 3), 1 Block (Savela), 18 Turnovers.
DU -- Karly Gustafson 17, Bailey Beckman 14, Ashtyn Veerbeek 13, Siennah Stamness 6, Erika Feenstra 5, Jordyn Winterfeld 2, Mya Chmielewski 1. Totals: 20-61 FG, 11-32 3-pointers (Beckman 4, Veerbeek 3, Stamness 2, Feenstra, Gustafson), 7-10 FT, 37 Rebounds (Veerbeek 11), 14 Assists, 21 Fouls (Feenstra), 10 Blocks (Veerbeek 6), 5 Steals (Baylee Tetzlaff 2), 20 Turnovers.
Records: Jamestown 10-6, 7-6 GPAC. Dordt 10-7, 9-5.
Dordt University 87, (RV) University of Jamestown 68
UJ 35 33 -- 87
DU 44 43 -- 68
UJ -- Mason Walters 18, Allante' Pickens 12, Cole Woodford 11, Jack Talley 11, Will Cordes 6, Marc Kjos 3, Brock Schrom 3, Logan Pratt 2, Brady Birch 2. Totals: 29-66 FG, 9-21 3-pointers (Woodford 3, Pickens 2, Cordes 2, Kjos, Talley), 1-2 FT, 32 Rebounds (Walters 9, Birch 8), 7 Assists (Kjos 2), 15 Fouls, 6 Steals, 2 Blocks, 18 Turnovers.
DU -- Cade Bleeker 18, Jacob Vis 17, Bryce Coppock 16, Garrett Franken 13, Camden Bialas 9, Jesse Jansma 8, Ben Gesink 6. Totals: 31-61 FG, 12-24 3-pointers (Bleeker 3, Coppock 3, Jansma 2, Gesink 2, Franken, Vis), 13-15 FT, 34 Rebounds (Franken 7), 20 Assists (3 with 4), 11 Fouls, 9 Steals, 4 Blocks, 17 Turnovers.
Records: Dordt 14-4, 9-4 GPAC. Jamestown 12-5, 8-4.