Blue Hawk women all short of No. 7 Jimmies
Dickinson State gave No. 7-ranked Jamestown College all it could handle -- especially in the final minute.
But, every time the Blue Hawks found a spark, the Jimmies had an answer.
Bridget Schuneman scored 18 points to lead a balanced Jamestown scoring effort as it survived DSU's last-minute comeback for an 83-78 victory, its 12th straight, Saturday during a DSU's final Dakota Athletic Conference women's basketball game and final game of its season at Scott Gymnasium.
"I would have loved to have gone out with a win, especially for our seniors because they worked so hard and put so much into it," DSU head coach Andre Goldberg said. "But anybody who watches any of our games knows we're going to battle until the end and let the cards fall where they may."
DSU trailed 80-70 with 37 seconds left when senior Jessica Nieves converted a three-point play on a driving layup and free throw. That led to a 3-pointer and a scoop layup by Ashley Jelly that cut the Jimmies' lead to 80-78 with 16 seconds left.
Excluding Hannah Steele's last two free throws with 1.6 seconds left, DSU outscored Jamestown 8-1 over the final 36 seconds.
Nieves had a chance to win the game with a deep 3-pointer with 4 seconds left, but chose instead to dribble left and tried driving to the lane for a layup, and hopefully, a three-point play opportunity that she had been so successful with the entire season.
"I don't know if I traveled. I could have sworn I put the ball down first," said Nieves, who scored a game-high 21 points. "I wasn't going to shoot because I knew we still had time left."
The Blue Hawks' season ended without a postseason appearance for the first time because DSU (10-19, 2-4 DAC) is without an NAIA-recognized conference until next year when it joins the Frontier Conference. DSU will not be one of the four teams to reach the NAIA Division II Independent tournament.
"We knew it was going to be the last game of our season and for our seniors, the last game of our career," Nieves said. "So we just wanted to go out with a bang."
DSU continually pushed the Jimmies (26-3, 6-0 DAC), tying the game for the first time, 26-26, with 6:08 remaining in the first half.
However, a pivotal moment came late in the first half when DSU, trailing 38-34, had the opportunity to tie it going into halftime when Devan Koch was fouled and Jamestown's bench was whistled for a technical with 4.2 seconds left in the first half.
However, the Blue Hawks went just 1 of 4 from the free-throw line and then Koch fouled Kaeli Kraska with .6 left on the clock and she made both her free throws to give the Jimmies a 40-35 halftime advantage.
DSU took its first lead, 52-51, with 12:35 left in the second half but quickly had it wiped away by the Jimmies' potent offense.
Steele had 13 points and six assists, Casey Geffre and Amber Ramlo had 11 points each and Kellie Schuneman scored 10 points for the Jimmies, who'll have the top seed in the NAIA Division II Independent tournament next weekend in Madison, S.D.
Jimmies head coach Greg Ulland said he was relieved after the game.
"We wanted to keep the momentum going momentum is such a big thing in basketball," Ulland said. "If we can continue to have that kind of swagger when we go on the floor, knowing that we can do some things."
The Jimmies shot 27 of 48 (56 percent) from the field while DSU was 25 of 53 (47 percent).
DSU senior Kylee Bittner, who scored 20 points in her final game, fouled out with 1:39 remaining in the second half and much of the crowd gave her a standing ovation as she left the floor for the final time.
Senior center Mandy Mullock fouled out with 12.1 seconds left, trying desperately to stop the clock with a foul. She had six points and six rebounds.
"I'm really proud of our seniors," Goldberg said. "They did a great job this year. They left a mark on the program that will be lasting a long time."
JAMESTOWN COLLEGE (26-3): Amber Ramlo 3-4 5-8 11, Bridget Schuneman 7-9 4-6 18, Hannah Steele 4-7 4-4 13, Kelle Schuneman 2-2 6-6 10, Casey Geffre 4-10 0-0 11, Carley Jensen 2-4 3-6 9, Hannah Elshaug 2-3 0-0 4, Megan Pold 2-4 0-0 4, Maggie Seter 1-3 0-1 3, Kaeli Kraska 0-0 2-2 2, Morgan Mathison 0-1 1-4 1, Kadie Savage 0-0 0-2 0, Jordan Bridges 0-1 0-0 0, Nicole Ahlers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-48 25-39 83.
DICKINSON STATE (10-19): Mandy Mullock 1-5 4-4 6, Yianna Nadeau 4-8 4-6 12, Ashley Jelly 3-5 0-0 8, Kylee Bittner 6-15 8-12 20, Jessica Nieves 7-11 6-7 21, Jenna Cabello 2-4 1-2 5, Janae Moore 2-2 0-0 4, Devan Koch 0-2 2-6 2, Jordyn Bender 0-1 0-0 0, Kersten Jaramillo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-53 25-37 78.
Halftime: JC 40-35. Total fouls: JC 25, DSU 28. Technical fouls: JC bench. Fouled out: K. Schuneman, Bittner, Mullock. 3-point goals: JC 7-16 (Geffre 3-5, Jensen 2-4, Steele 1-3, Seter 1-3, Mathison 0-1), DSU 3-10 (Jelly 2-3, Nieves 1-3, Mullock 0-1, Nadeau 0-1, Bittner 0-1, Bender 0-1). Rebounds: JC 36 (three with 4), DSU 34 (Mullock 6). Assists: JC 14 (Steele 6), DSU 5 (Bittner 2, Nieves 2). Steals: JC 3 (Ramlo 2), DSU 5 (Bittner 2, Nieves 2). Blocks: JC 6 (Ramlo 3), DSU 0. Turnovers: JC 20 (K. Schuneman 5), DSU 13 (Mullock 5).