Tower's career day leads Jimmies past Raiders
Jimmie women's basketball had already suffered a blow to begin Wednesday night's contest hosting Northwestern College before freshman Audrey Rodakowski took one to the nose.
The 6-foot true freshman reportedly suffered a broken nose in the final minute of the first quarter and was taken to the hospital after scoring eight of UJ's 22 points in the first 10 minutes. Meanwhile, UJ sophomore starter Hannah DeMars was already out of commission battling a bout of strep throat.
But Kia Tower had UJ's back. The sophomore guard poured in a career-high 25 points, to go along with a team-leading eight rebounds and six assists, in a 70-65 win over the Red Raiders.
"Our theory right now is just play harder, play harder, play harder," said the 5-foot-6 Tower, whose Jimmies improved to 3-1 and 1-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. "We've had so many highs and lows with injuries ... the unexpected has just been tossed at us so much so I think we're learning how to overcome all this adversity."
The Jimmies in all likelihood lost senior starting forward Mackensi Higlin to a torn ACL earlier this month but were able to snap an 0-4 losing streak to Northwestern by surviving a dizzying 20 lead changes. The final switch came in the final 1 minute, 30 seconds when UJ's Noelle Josephson tossed in two of her 10 points to flip the advantage to 64-63 Jimmies.
The Jimmies' Emma Stoehr put the nail in the coffin 40 seconds later.
The senior guard buried her third of three 3-pointers to extend the lead to four points before the Jimmies won by five. The victory was only UJ's second over Northwestern in the past 10 meetings between the two teams dating back to 2012.
"I've come to think Emma kinda likes that stuff," smiled UJ women's basketball coach Thad Sankey. "She's got the courage to step up when we need her. When she's in rhythm, she knows that when her feet are set she can knock those down. That was cool to see her do that."
Tower buried three 3-pointers and scored 11 in the first half to help the Jimmies take a 35-33 lead into halftime. She connected from long range again in the third and scored 11 more in the quarter as UJ led 54-51 to begin the final 10 minutes.
Sophomore guard Macy Savela replaced DeMars in the starting lineup and didn't disappoint. Savela shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field with three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.
Stoehr finished with 12 points in UJ's balanced offensive attack. UJ hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and made 10 of 20 from beyond the arc in the game.
"We were in a drought so it was nice to finally get them to fall," Tower said.
The Raiders, who fell to 0-5 to start the season, couldn't overcome 5 of 23 shooting from 3-point range, even after outrebounding the Rodakowski-less Jimmies by six (37-31). Emilee Danner (12 points) and Sammy Blum (11) both reached double figures in scoring for the visitors.
"We've just got really special people and special players too, and that pulled us through," Sankey said. "What Kia did in the first half was special."
Sanky also praised the tenacity of Josephson (4 steals) and Savela's clutch shooting.
"I thought Macy Savela was awesome," Sankey said "Her spot shooting and just the ability to be ready as they're pressing out in their zone to just find little slivers and be ready to shoot it was really cool."
Jamestown committed 25 turnovers but did just enough offensively to provide momentum heading into a four-game road trip.
"We talked about just one possession at a time and we talked about how important it was to reset after we have a string of a couple possessions that don't go our way," Sankey said. "In all those times we buckled down, we reset, we looked at each other and we were able to win the next possession."
The Jimmies are at Hastings College in Nebraska on Monday and will play Doane University in Crete, Nebraska, on Wednesday.
Tower concluded: "I think we just have to keep playing together and know that nothing is set in stone."
University of Jamestown 70, Northwestern College 65
NC 19 14 18 14 -- 65
UJ 22 13 19 16 -- 70
NC -- Emilee Danner 12, Sammy Blum 11, Taylor VanderVelde 8, Moly Schany 8, Hannah Nerem 6, Devyn Kemble 5, Jada Cunningham 5, Maddie Jones 4, Alexis Toering 4, Jazy Prins 2. Totals: 26-64 FG, 5-23 3-pointers (Blum 3, Kemble, Cunningham), 8-11 FT, 37 Rebounds (Schany 16), 24 Fouls (Blum), 19 Assists (Blum 6), 19 Turnovers, 13 Steals (Danner 3).
UJ -- Kia Tower 25, Emma Stoehr 12, Macy Savela 11, Noelle Josephson 10, Audrey Rodakowski 8, Anni Stier 2, Corry Hickman 2. Totals: 25-52 FG, 10-20 3-pointers (Tower 4, Stoehr 3, Savela 3), 10-15 FT, 31 Rebounds (Tower 8), 17 fouls, 20 Assists (Tower 6), 25 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (3 with 1), 9 Steals (Josephson 4).
Records: Jamestown 3-1, 1-1 GPAC. Northwestern 0-5, 0-2.