The Minnesota West Lady Jays dominated the first quarter Wednesday night and held off visiting Riverland the rest of the way to earn a 77-70 women’s basketball victory and improve to 22-2 on the season.
The Lady Jays, who are still ranked third nationally, led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter. After Riverland went ahead 4-1 early, Minnesota West went on a 12-0 run to set the tone. The Jays had a 10-point advantage over the 10th-ranked Blue Devils at halftime and never trailed in the second half, though Riverland did close to within three of the lead.
Olivia Hayenga scored 24 points to lead Minnesota West offensively, with 20 of those points coming in the first half. Hayenga also added a team-best nine rebounds. Tia Murray contributed 21 points for the Lady Jays; she made all nine of her free throw attempts and didn’t commit a turnover in more than 36 minutes of action.
Madisyn Huisman chipped in with 13 points for the Jays on 6-of-8 shooting. Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor had eight assists, eight rebounds and four steals.
In the men’s game, the Bluejays fought gallantly with just eight players against a much deeper Riverland squad but lost 74-69.
Minnesota West rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to trail by just two points at the break. The Jays then led by six before trailing by 10 with 4:18 to go but clawed their way back to a 69-69 tie before the Blue Devils tallied the final five points.
Elijah Williams had 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Minnesota West. Bie Ruei and Sam Daho had 10 points each.