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CONFERENCE CHAMPS: Jimmies take down rival VCSU

One of the best defensive units in all of NAIA Division II women's basketball allowed its offense time to find itself Saturday. After pinning down visiting Valley City State University for two quarters, University of Jamestown senior guard Paige ...

University of Jamestown's Mya Buffetta drives the ball around Valley City State's Paige Meyer Saturday at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun
University of Jamestown's Mya Buffetta drives the ball around Valley City State's Paige Meyer Saturday at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

One of the best defensive units in all of NAIA Division II women's basketball allowed its offense time to find itself Saturday.

After pinning down visiting Valley City State University for two quarters, University of Jamestown senior guard Paige Emmel helped the Jimmies kick down the door in the third.

Emmel connected from 3-point range three times in the frame-the first on Jamestown's opening possession of the second half-and the eighth-ranked Jimmies rolled to a 70-62 victory over 18th-ranked Valley City State.

The Jimmies won a fifth consecutive North Star Athletic Association conference championship outright with the victory. It was also Jamestown's second win in as many days after losing senior point guard and floor general Bryn Woodside to injury.

"It definitely all starts on the defensive end," Emmel said. "Without Bryn out there it's a much different game for us and we're still trying to adjust to that. But our defensive intensity and aggressiveness, that's going to stay the same for us no matter what.

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"We'll find a way to score 80 points again."

Neither team found much success offensively in the first half, but the Jimmies' physicality both on defense and on the glass made the difference. Jamestown limited the Vikings to 9 of 32 from the field and held honorable mention All-American senior guard Lexi Lennon to just four points in the opening 20 minutes.

The Jimmies led 35-23 at the break and ballooned the advantage to 60-38 after three quarters behind a 25-point frame fueled by all 11 points Emmel would score in the contest. The Vikings ended the game on a 17-2 run, evaporating a 23-point deficit with Jamestown's reserves eating up the final minutes.

Lennon eventually scored a team-high 15, while sophomore center Mackenzie Huber posted 14 points and hauled in 11 rebounds for the Vikings.

"Emmel's been struggling and she's a little frustrated, but that one she hit right away to start the third quarter was huge for us," Jimmie women's basketball coach Greg Ulland said. "The third quarter has kinda been our quarter the past couple weeks. We've come out after halftime, made our adjustments and have been able to get out and get after them."

Ulland was also pleased with his other senior captain, McKayla Orr. Orr made 10 of 13 at the foul line and posted a game-high 21 points, including 12 in the first half and seven in the third.

Orr needs just four more points to reach 1,000 for her career, which she'll more than likely accomplish Saturday at Presentation College in the Jimmies' final game of the regular season.

"It was senior night and she was not going to let us not win tonight," Ulland said of Orr. "The relationship that she and Bryn have-their friendship and how tight they are-it was just about her doing it for Bryn."

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Woodside, in uniform for senior night, confirmed after the game she tore the ACL in her right knee during a 5-on-5 drill Wednesday in practice.

"I have an appointment on Monday with my physician in Fargo, but surgery's not going to be until probably April or May," Woodside said. "It's just a change, and we adjusted well to the change and I'm super proud of how the team played and how we all came together today.

"It was a pretty fun win, actually."

Jamestown snapped a nine-game winning streak held by the Vikings, en route to sole ownership of the conference crown.

"It was one of our goals for the season, but we're always wanting more," Emmel said. "We've got a big conference tournament coming up."

(8) Jamestown 70, (18) Valley City State 62

Valley City 13 23 38 62

Jamestown 16 35 60 70

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Valley City-Lexi Lennon 15, Mackenzie Huber 14, Kaitlin Connor 11, Alli Vandal 7, Kate Williams 7, Hannah Schlecht 6, Kennedy Henningsgard 2. Totals: 24-61 FG, 13-18 FT, 1-8 3-pointers (Williams), 37 Rebounds (Huber 10), 19 Fouls, 11 Assists (Paige Meyer 3), 14 Turnovers, 4 Blocks (Huber 2), 2 Steals.

Jamestown-McKayla Orr 21, Paige Emmel 11, Jenna Doyle 10, Allison Jablonsky 8, Marina Nowak 6, Mackenzie Sparby 6, Mya Buffetta 3, Emma Stoehr 3, Jory Mullen 2. Totals: 23-62 FG, 16-22 FT, 8-27 3-pointers (Emmel 3, Jablonsky 2, Buffetta, Orr, Stoehr), 43 Rebounds (Doyle 9, Nowak 8), 17 Fouls, 12 Assists (Buffetta 5), 10 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Doyle 2), 7 Steals (Orr 4).

Records: Jamestown 26-3, 15-0 NSAA. Valley City 21-4, 12-3 NSAA.

University of Jamestown's McKayla Orr moves the ball into the zone Saturday during basketball action against Valley City State at Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun
University of Jamestown's McKayla Orr moves the ball into the zone Saturday during basketball action against Valley City State at Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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