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Minnesota West falls in NJCAA semis; will play for third place Saturday

The Minnesota West Lady Jays took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Hostos Community College outscored the Jays by 16 over the final 10 minutes to defeat Minnesota West 74-67 Friday night in a semifinal game in the NJCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Tournament.

The Lady Jays and Caiman were tied 31-31 at halftime, but Minnesota West came out hot in the third quarter and wound up scoring 30 points in the period thanks to sizzling 70.6% shooting, Those fine fortunes, however, were reversed in the fourth quarter, as the Jays went just 2-of-18 from the field while Hostos rallied from behind.

As has been consistently the case, the Lady Jays had balanced scoring in the contest. Tia Murray had 15 points to go along with six rebounds, while MacKenzie Post had 12 points and five assists and Dannyn Peterson contributed 12 points as well as six rebounds. Macie Werdel was the Jays’ leading rebounder with seven.

Had Minnesota West won Friday, it would have met top overall Owens Community College of Toledo, Ohio, for the national title. Owens knocked off fourth-seeded and tournament host Rochester 66-63 in Friday's other semifinal on a long 3-pointer by Taylor Starks with .1 second left on the clock.

Now, the seventh-seeded Lady Jays – whose record stands at 19-13 – will face a familiar foe in the 23-6 Yellow Jackets when they meet in Saturday’s 2 p.m. third-place game. The teams have split a pair of meetings this season, with each earning victories on their home floor. The game will be broadcast live on 104.3 The Bridge.

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