McCloskey, Rocky escape DSU comebackKalli McCloskey had the hot hand all evening for Rocky Mountain College — and she hit her team’s biggest shot when it mattered most.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Kalli McCloskey had the hot hand all evening for Rocky Mountain College — and she hit her team’s biggest shot when it mattered most.
Leading by two with 32 seconds left, McCloskey spotted up and knocked down a 16-foot jumper that helped the Bears escape a 16-point Dickinson State second-half comeback and spoil the Blue Hawks’ first-ever Frontier Conference women’s basketball game.
McCloskey scored 20 points and Rocky beat DSU 61-54 on Wednesday night at Scott Gymnasium.
“It’s kind of a lost art, that mid-range jumper,” Rocky head coach Brian Henderson said with a smile.
The hibernating Bears woke up with 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining after going scoreless for 7:40 as the Blue Hawks made a 16-0 run to climb out of a 51-36 deficit and take a 52-51 lead.
Rocky sophomore Brittany Kumm hit her third and final 3-pointer from the left wing with to’ give Rocky the lead for good, 54-52, and the Blue Hawks couldn’t do much offensively after that, missing shots and turning the ball over.
“We didn’t really take control until the last part,” said DSU sophomore Jess Bygate, who had team highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. “We did get the great lead, but I felt like if we could have been full throttle the whole thing … and stay composed.”
The late letdown overshadowed an outstanding comeback by the Blue Hawks (3-6, 0-1 Frontier) that began with Bygate’s three-point play in the post with 8:39 remaining. That sparked a newfound intensity in DSU, which had struggled offensively up to that point.
They switched from a man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone, which threw Rocky for a loop.
“We’re not a team that typically runs a 2-3 zone, but it was our only chance tonight,” DSU head coach Caleb Harrison said. “Maybe we should have gone to it earlier.”
Bygate missed a shot in the post on a designed in-bounds play with 24 seconds left that would have cut Rocky’s lead to two and free throws helped the Bears (2-3, 1-0 Frontier) seal the game from there.
Rocky built an 11-2 lead in the first 6 minutes of the game. DSU scored the game’s first points after a Lorna Shepherd layup off the opening tip and was silent for the next 6:20.
Brittany Myers had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Bears.
“What we need to do is bring that intensity right from the beginning, right from the first (minute),” Bygate said.
DSU sophomore Janae Moore sat out the final 15:12 of the first half after picking up her second foul. She had no points, two rebounds and three turnovers in the first half.
She scored her first points 89 seconds into the second half on one of her signature hard drives to the hoop and finished with nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the final minute.
Lorna Shepherd and Mariah Duran had 10 points and five rebounds for the Blue Hawks, who were 1 of 14 from 3-point range and committed 25 turnovers.
DSU had opportunities to cut into the lead early in the second half, but they quickly disappeared after Brittany Kumm hit a pair of 3-pointers from the left corner and Haleigh Crnkovich added another from the same spot to put the Bears up 43-30 with 16:11 remaining.
Most of Rocky’s outside shots were set up by dribble drives.
“We’ve got to do a better job as coaches getting the team ready for that kind of offense,” Harrison said. “It was a different kind of offense. We’ve got to do a better job of preparing our players. They just drove by us continuously tonight.”
The Blue Hawks have now lost five of their last six games. This one was by far the closest.
“Every game that we lose, we feel like we’re getting so much closer and so much closer to being great that we’ll get there,” Bygate said. “We’re so close.”
ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (2-3, 1-0 Frontier): Taylor Hurst 0-5 4-6 4, Brittany Myers 4-12 5-9 13, Haleigh Crnkovich 2-5 2-3 7, Kally McClosky 8-18 0-2 20, Brittany Kumm 4-10 0-0 11, Kelcy Lott 0-2 0-0 0, Mariah Gondeiro 0-5 0-0 0, Aynslee Stuart 0-0 2-2 2, Marisa Morais 1-4 2-2 4. Totals 19-61 19-29 61.
DICKINSON STATE (3-6, 0-1 Frontier): Janae Moore 4-12 0-0 9, Jess Bygate 8-14 3-3 19, Jenna Cabello 0-5 0-0 0, Lorna Shepherd 5-8 0-0 10, Mariah Duran 2-7 6-7 10, Dawne Degel 0-1 0-0 0, Yianna Nadeau 1-6 0-0 2, Ashley Jelly 0-2 0-0 0, Jaylyn Klauzer 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 22-60 9-10 54.
Halftime: Rocky 33-24. Total fouls: RMC 14, DSU 24. Fouled out: DSU, Moore. 3-point goals: RMC 4-18 (Hurst 0-3, Crnkovich 1-3, McCloskey 1-3, McClosky 0-2, Kumm 3-6, Gondeiro 0-3), DSU 1-14 (Moore 1-2, Duran 0-5, Nadeau 0-5, Jelly 0-2). Rebounds: RMC 39 (Myers 15), DSU 46 (Bygate 10). Assists: RMC 6 (Crnkovich 3, McCloskey 3), DSU 10 (Bygate 3). Steals: RMC 9 (Crnkovich 4), DSU 4 (Bygate 2). Blocks: RMC 2 (Hurst, Morais), DSU 1 (Bygate). Turnovers: RMC 15 (Morais 4), DSU 25 (Shepherd 5, Moore 5).