by Scott DCamp
The Northland Community & Technical College women’s basketball team regained a share of first place in the MCAC Northern Divison with a come-from-behind 70-65 win over visiting Rainy River Community College Saturday, Feb. 3.
Northland fell 62-58 in the teams’ previous meeting in International Falls on Jan. 17.
The rematch followed a similar pattern, with Northland racing out to a big first half lead, and Rainy River mounting a second half comeback.
On Saturday, the Pioneers and Voyageurs battled to an 11-11 tie through one period of play. Northland used a 13-2 run in the second quarter to go up 41-28 at the end of the first half.
Rainy River answered with a dominant third quarter that ended on a 13-2 run of its own to cut the Northland lead to 53-52.
Between the third and fourt quarters, Nelson got her team to settle down and re-focus.
“We needed to play one possession at a time,” said Northland Head Coach Shannon Nelson. “We were getting a little ahead of ourselves. We needed to take care of the ball on offense and make them work for a shot on the defensive end of the court.
Northland trailed by as many as three points in the fourth quarter, but ended the game on a 10-2 run to pick up the win.
Three Rainy River starters – Meoshia Peterson, 6 points, Vilawn Mobley, 9 points, and DeGrate Tykala, 11 points – each fouled out to help the Northland cause. Not only did their loss open up scoring opportunites for the Pioneers offensively, but the extra free throws were put to good use as the Pioneers went 9-for-11 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
“That what you hope for – those are pressure free throws,” Nelson said. “It’s nice to see us step up and knock those down. You try to simulate that in practice, but until you are actually in that situation, it’s hard to know how we’re going to respond.”
Both teams are now 6-1 in MCAC Northern Divison play and sit tied atop the division standings.
1 2 3 4 T
Rainy River………. 11 17 24 13 65
Northland…………. 11 30 12 17 70
Rainy River – Meoshia Peterson 6, Davane Gross 13, Vilawn Mobley 9, Letitia Munroe 4, Daeja Monroe 18, DeGrate Tykala 15.
Northland – Emily Hestekind 4, Megan Swedberg 24, Kelsey Kainz 2, Emily Anderson 13, Hannah Dietsch 2, Madison Stenzel 2, Brook Heggie.