COON RAPIDS, MN – The Bay College Women's Basketball Team (9-4) faltered down the stretch, allowing the Western Technical College Cavaliers (9-2) the hold on to a 69-65 win in the opening game of the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Classic on Saturday.
The Norse were forced to play from behind for most of the first half. The Cavaliers led throughout the first quarter. Bay was able to grab the lead twice in the second quarter, but both bids at taking control of the game were short-lived, as Western Tech immediately closed the gap. They clung to a 35-34 lead at the half.
The second half got off to a slow start, with both offenses missing opportunities to take advantage of poor shooting. The Norse went almost five minutes before scoring in the second half, getting a three-pointer from Trish McGuire (FR, Gwinn, MI) to tie the contest at 37. The basket would trigger the offenses for both teams, as they continued their back-and-forth affair. A second McGuire three gave the Norse the lead late in the third, and they held the advantage after the third, with the score standing at 51-47.
The Bay College attack once again went cold, as they suffered through another four-plus minute stretch of not hitting a shot from the field. The Cavaliers were able to take advantage this time around. When JuliAnn Wickman (SO, Felch, MI) scored on a layup with just over five minutes to play, it pulled the Norse to within two. Bay's offense still struggled to get going, and Western Tech was able to build their biggest lead of the game. The Norse found themselves down by eight, with about three and a half minutes to play.
While the Norse continued to fight, Western Tech had answers for the Bay advances down the stretch. The Cavaliers managed to hold a multi possession lead until late. Holly Wardynski (FR, Ontonagon, MI) gave the Norse some hope by making a three-point basket with time winding down, cutting the lead to three. The Cavaliers did just enough to hold off the comeback effort, making one of two free throws in the following possession. Time ran out on Bay, as they had had just one possession left, and would fall by four.
The Norse shot 40.7% for the game, despite hitting just four of eleven attempts in the fourth quarter. Western Tech only connected on 31.7% of their shots, but outrebounded the Norse 47-35, including grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. Bay College struggled from the free throw line, making just 13 of 31 attempts from the charity stripe.
It was the second loss of the season for the Norse against Western Tech. The Cavaliers won at home on November 9 by a final of 74-45, giving Western Tech the sweep of the season series.
The Cavaliers' Lexi Schmidtknecht (SO, Fountain City, WI) led all scorers with 24 points and six rebounds. Makenna Gabel (SO, Fountain City, WI) added 12 points and six rebounds, while Rylee Gabel (SO, Fountain City, WI) pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Norse got ten points from Kelsea Ackerman (SO, Munising, MI). Wardynski and Taylor Hunter (SO, Gladstone, MI) each scored nine points, while Brooke Dalgord (SO, Garden, MI) ended with seven points and seven rebounds.
Bay College will finish the 2019 portion of their schedule on Sunday when they faceoff with the host school, Anoka-Ramsey. That game is scheduled for 5 pm.