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Dickinson State women's hoops hangs on for victory over Rocky Mountain College

With its back against the wall to start the game, Dickinson State's women's basketball team played at its best on Friday night.After falling into an early deficit, the Blue Hawks took control of the second half and scored 42 points after intermis...

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Dickinson State junior guard Lorna Shepherd releases a 3-point shot Friday night in a 77-74 Blue Hawks’ win over Rocky Mountain College in Scott Gymnasium. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

With its back against the wall to start the game, Dickinson State’s women’s basketball team played at its best on Friday night.
After falling into an early deficit, the Blue Hawks took control of the second half and scored 42 points after intermission to defeat Rocky Mountain (Mont.) College 77-74 in Scott Gymnasium in their first game of the Milanovich Classic.
“We decided to go man-to-man, and we just had a tough time down the stretch stopping them defensively,” DSU head coach Mark Graupe said. “Our zone defense is what got us back into the game, but in the fourth quarter they exploited it.”
The Blue Hawks (6-1) had to outlast a 24-point barrage from the Bears (7-2) in the fourth quarter - or as DSU senior forward Janniqua Thomas called it, an “Oh, crap” moment.
“We need to take pride in it, and unfortunately we didn’t,” Thomas said of DSU’s lead. “Fortunately, we made up for it in the end with our defense.”
With less than a minute left, DSU ran down the shot clock before kicking it to Thomas with five seconds remaining before she dribbled through the lane and made a driving hook.
RMC, a Frontier Conference team, responded with a shot of its own before Taylor Henningsgard cashed in a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to give DSU a 76-74 advantage. After a missed trey from Jayde LeFevre and a tough rebound from DSU center Megan Klein, the Blue Hawks made the necessary free throw to escape with a win.

“As a team, we came out and gave it 10 times the heart,” Thomas said. “In the first half, we didn’t quite play to our potential, but in the second half we played more to our potential for most of the two quarters.”
Thomas came off the bench and scored a game-best 21 points to go along with four assists. DSU sophomore forward Ashley Bentz also came off the bench to provide 18 points - 15 of those in the first half. She ended the game having hit 4 of 9 3-pointers.
“I don’t think we came out quite to our potential in the first half,” Bentz said. “So it was really nice in the second half, coming out and showing what we can do because the lead in the first half wasn’t really a reflection of what we can do.”
RMC bolted off to a 14-9 lead by the midpoint of the first quarter, but the Blue Hawks replied with a 19-12 run that was capped by back-to-back transition layups from Bentz. Bentz’s 15 first-half points helped DSU to a 35-33 advantage at intermission.
Bentz shot 6 for 7 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range in the first two quarters.
“We jumped out early, but then they went into some zone defense and that slowed us down,” RMC head coach Wes Keller said. “Then they hurt us in transition with some easy 3s and open layups.”
The second half was Thomas’ time to shine. After scoring only four points in the first half, the senior connected on 5 of 5 shots in the third quarter. She paced DSU to 30 points in the third frame.
“If they were going to go small, we were going to put Janniqua in the inside, put Megan on the outside and have them try to guard Janniqua with one of their small people,” Graupe said. “That’s when she went off.”
DSU will play its final game of the Milanovich Classic at 5 p.m. today against NAIA Division I No. 5-ranked Montana State-Northern. The Blue Hawks’ only loss of the season came against MSU-N 69-67 on Nov. 7.
“Now that they’ve moved up a rank, it’s going to be 10 times better,” Thomas said. “We dropped one at their place, but we’re going to get this one.”

RMC 16 17 17 24 - 74
DSU 14 21 30 12 - 77
RMC (7-2): Bridger Rice 6-10 1-2 16, Alecia Chamberlin 0-3 0-0 0, Tenika Capouch 3-9 2-2 8, Destiny Amezquita 6-19 0-0 14, Whittney Mitchell 6-12 4-4 19, Brandy Kumm 0-3 0-0 0, Jayde LeFevre 5-10 1-1 14, Kara Gerke 1-1 0-0 3, Justyn Juhl 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 27-68 8-9 74.
DSU (6-1): Leslie Beaudoin 0-4 0-0 0, Megan Klein 5-10 0-0 10, MacKayla Feeney 2-7 2-4 8, Paitton Herbst 1-5 0-0 3, Taylor Henningsgard 3-3 3-4 12, Lorna Shepherd 1-2 2-2 5, Ashley Bentz 7-12 0-0 18, Rachael McDonough 0-1 0-0 0, Janniqua Thomas 9-15 3-4 21. Totals: 28-59 10-14 77.
Total fouls: RMC 17, DSU 13. 3-point goals: RMC 12-34 (Rice 3-3, Chamberlin 0-3, Amezquita 2-13, Mitchell 3-5, Kumm 0-2, LeFevre 3-7, Gerke 1-1), DSU 11-25 (Beaudoin 0-1, Feeney 2-6, Herbst 1-4, Henningsgard 3-3, Shepherd 1-2, Bentz 4-9). Rebounds: RMC 38 (Mitchell 8), DSU 36 (Klein 15). Assists: RMC 15 (Mitchell 6), DSU 18 (Henningsgard 6). Steals: RMC 9 (Mitchell 3), DSU 6 (Feeney 2). Blocks: RMC 0, DSU 2 (Klein 2). Turnovers: RMC 10, DSU 14.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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