The Northland Community & Technical College women’s basketball team won its second consecutive NJCAA Region 13B title Sunday with a dominating 76-31 win over second-seeded Mesabi Range Community College.
“Our defense really locked down Mesab,” said Head Coach Shannon Nelson. “Thirty-one points is a season low for points that we've given up, so we were really proud of that. We prepared all week for their trapping defense that gave us fits at their place a week ago, and I was so happy with how the team implemented what we worked on.”
Northland and Mesabi Range met twice during the regular season, with Northland winning 73-54 at home in January, and 62-59 on February 25 in Virginia.
The Pioneers and Lady Norse traded scores early in the first quarter.
Northland broke a 4-4 tie with a 13-0 run and Mesabi Range never really recovered. At the end of the first quarter, the Pioneers led 21-7 and by the end of the first half it was 36-13 in favor of the Pioneers.
Northland continued to play dominant defense in the second half, holding the Lady Norse to 13 points in the third quarter and just five points in the fourth.
“I think [Sunday’s] game may have been our best game of the season – we had balanced scoring and played excellent defense.” Nelson said. “Hopefully this gives us momentum going into the national tournament next weekend.”
Northland used its height advantage well, as posts ShaRon Miller and Megan Swedberg combined for 36 points and 24 rebounds. Following the game, Miller was recognized as the tournament MVP.
Madison Stenzel also had a big game off the bench, scoring 14 points, while grabbing six rebounds.
Northland is one of two MCAC teams to qualify for the National Tournament. Joining Northland is Region 13A winner Anoka-Ramsey Community College, which defeated Rochester 76-66 on Sunday.
Other teams qualifying for the eight-team NJCAA Division III Tournmaent are Mohawk Valley (NY), Rock Valley (IL), Hostos (NY), Brookdale (NJ), Roxbury (MA), and West Georgia Tech.
The 2017 NJCAA National Tournament will be held March 16-18 at the Jorgensen Athetic and Events Center in Utica, NY.
1 2 3 4 T
Mesabi Range 7 6 13 5 31
Northland 21 15 27 13 76
Mesabi Range – Brielle Willis 4, Cora Peterson 4, Morgan Johnson 4, Lexi Hill 3, Tanessha Dupree 4, Kayla Williams 2, Makayla Goerdt 3, Alexis Boissy 7.
Northland – Emily Anderson 9, Jessica Vedbraaten 10, ShaRon Miller 19, Emily Hestekind 7, Megan Swedberg 17, Madison Stenzel 14.
Pioneers avance to Region 13B Championship
The Northland women dominated the fourth quarter in a 48-34 win over Hibbing Community College on Saturday, March 4 to advance to the NJCAA Region 13B championship game for the eighth consecutive year.
The Pioneers held a 10-8 lead after one period of play and pushed the lead to 10 points after two quarters were in the books.
Hibbing cut the deficit to six points after three periods of play were complete, setting the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter.
Northland’s defense emerged in the fourth quarter, holding Hibbing to just two points.
“Our defense was really a highlight for the weekend,” said Head Coach Shannon Nelson. “Hibbing played a unique defense on us, double-teaming our inside players and leaving perimeter players open, which took us awhile to adjust to. We didn't shoot the ball very well that game but we did enough on the defensive end to come out on top.”
Northland was led offensively by a 17-point effort from Kelsey Kainz. Joining her in double figures was ShaRon Miller, who scored 12 points while collecting 13 rebounds.
Hibbing managed to get two players in double figures, with April Hudelson scoring 14 points off the bench and Lexi Kudis scoring 11 points.
1 2 3 4 T
Hibbing 8 6 18 2 31
Northland 10 14 14 10 76
Hibbing – Justice Makesroom-Janke 2, Lexi Kudis 11, Jess Nicholson 5, Meg Justison 2, April Hudelson 14.
Northland – Myesha Caldwell 5, Kelsey Kainz 17, Emily Anderson 3, Jessica Vedbraaten 4, ShaRon miller 12, Megan Swedberg 3, Madison Stenzel 4.